Harvard women’s basketball maintained its firm grip on first place in the Ivy League Saturday night, cruising to a 80-58 win over Cornell behind a double-double from freshman forward Jadyn Bush.
Saturday’s win was the sixth straight victory for the Crimson (13-6, 5-1 Ivy), and it improved the team’s record at Lavietes Pavilion to 10-0 for the season. Although Harvard never trailed the Big Red (5-14, 1-5) in Saturday’s contest, the win came at a cost for the team.
With just over six minutes remaining in the first half, sophomore forward Jeannie Boehm was whistled for a foul under Harvard’s basket. But the bigger concern was Boehm, who fell to the ground, grimacing in pain.
Boehm, one of the leading scorers and interior defenders for Harvard, left the floor under her own power, but would not return, watching the second half from the bench. In spite of Boehm’s absence, the Crimson continued to outplay Cornell on the court, leading comfortably throughout the half.
“I love how hard we played,” coach Kathy Delaney-Smith said. “We did a great job without Jeannie, and it allowed us time for the development of other players.”
Boehm was not the only casualty of Saturday evening’s matchup. There was more cause for concern, as junior guard Sydney Skinner hit the floor hard in the fourth quarter, diving to scoop up a loose ball. Skinner remained seated on the court for a few moments before heading to the locker room for further examination. The Plano, Texas, native, a crucial scoring presence off the bench, would not return to the game.
With the game seemingly in hand, and injuries mounting for Harvard, coach Delaney Smith emptied her bench. Mackenzie Barta, Matilda Salen, Maddie Stuhlreyer, all entered in the fourth quarter. All fourteen players on the roster saw action for the Crimson, with Delaney Smith looking to rest players before next weekend’s difficult road trip to Penn and Princeton.
Injuries aside, Saturday’s win was a comfortable one for Harvard, as the team led by double digits and by more than 20 points for much of the second half. Saturday also served as a career night for Bush.
Bush recorded her first career double-double, scoring a career high 12 points and chipping in with 11 rebounds.
“She’s incredibly athletic, and she’s got a tremendous work ethic,” Delaney-Smith said of Bush. “Tonight, we needed her to step up big, and she did.”
Bush’s performance was crucial Saturday, with Boehm forced to the bench early with injury. The freshman from Federal Way, Wash., had to play extended minutes, and responded excellently, dominating the glass on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court.
Harvard garnered 13 rebounds in the first quarter alone, five of which were on the offensive end, leading to eight early second chance points. By the end of the game, the Crimson had a 46-23 advantage over the Big Red in rebounding, translating to a 31-8 mark in second chance points.
“Rebounding is something we’ve really made a focus this year,” Bush said. “This weekend we’ve finally shown the work we’ve been putting in this year.”
Bush would likely see more playing time if Boehm was forced to miss any games, and her performance was encouraging, as huge road matchups against the Tigers and Quakers loom large next weekend.
Women's Basketball Scraps Out Win Over SienaIn another contest one could label as a trap game, the Harvard women’s basketball team overcame Siena (2-8, 1-1 MAAC) on the road for a 65-58 victory. The win extended the team’s unbeaten streak to nine, the longest non-conference run in program history.
Women's Basketball Exits WNIT after Loss to St. John's
Women's Basketball Defeats Dartmouth, Extends Home Win Streak
Women's Basketball Claims First among Ivies with Win over Columbia
Women's Basketball Clinches Ivy Tournament Berth with Victory over Princeton