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Crimson Offense Heats Up to Beat Yale

Jen Berkowitz. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Jen Berkowitz. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Lavietes Pavilion has been a very tough place for opponents over the last couple years, with the Harvard women's basketball team posting a 20-2 record in its last 22 home games heading into Friday's meeting with Yale. And when the home team shoots better than 60 percent from the field, it's an even tougher place to play. That was what the Bulldogs faced on Friday. A hot-shooting Crimson team proved too much even for Yale's offense, which came into the day ranked second in the Ivy League in scoring. Led by 22 points from guard Taylor Rooks, Harvard pulled off a 97-73 win. Senior forward Jen Berkowitz led Yale with 19 points, adding six rebounds.

"We had tremendous respect for Harvard coming into this game," said Allison Guth, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "They had multiple scoring threats, the ability to shoot the three-ball and the ability to score in transition. But we just didn't defend with the intensity we needed to."

Yale (8-8, 1-2 Ivy League) fell behind early, but kept the game close in the first quarter. A late three by sophomore guard Roxy Barahman pulled the Bulldogs within 21-19 with 14 seconds left, but the Crimson got a buzzer-beater from guard Madeline Raster to go into the break up by four.

Yale trailed by as many as 14 on the scoreboard in the second quarter, though the shot that Harvard guard Nani Redford hit to give the Crimson that lead was eventually reviewed and changed to a two-pointer during halftime. Still, a stretch in which Harvard outscored Yale 10-0 -- hitting 4-of-5 from the field and 1-of-2 from the line -- left the Bulldogs struggling to stay within striking distance. Five points by Berkowitz in the final 1:32 cut the deficit to eight, but a pair of free throws by Rooks sent Harvard into halftime up 46-36.

A pair of threes early in the third helped Harvard (10-6, 2-1 Ivy League) open a 16-point lead within the first three minutes. The lead later grew as large as 18 before a 6-0 Yale run -- including four points from Berkowitz -- trimmed it to 12. But Harvard closed out the quarter with a 5-0 run to take a 70-53 lead into the fourth.

The Crimson kept up the pressure in the final quarter, hitting its first five shots and eventually building a 26-point lead. The Bulldogs worked in their bench at the end; first year guard Ale Aguirre returned to the court after being sidelined, playing her first game since mid-November. Harvard guard Matilda Salen hit the final shot of the game for Harvard, and the Crimson finished at 61 percent from the field (64 percent from three-point territory).

Berkowitz now has 81 points in the last four games.

"She battled inside, and she has been a consistent force for us when we need a basket," said Guth.

First-year guard Tori Andrew finished with 16 points and a perfect 8-for-8 performance from the free throw line for Yale. Barahman added 14 points and six assists, while senior guard Tamara Simpson had 10 points.

Yale plays at Dartmouth Saturday (5:00 p.m., Ivy League Network).

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity

 

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