PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – The Brown women's basketball team (7-11, 1-3 Ivy League) dashed out to an early lead, but ultimately fell, 68-58, to the Harvard Crimson (12-6, 3-1 Ivy League) in tonight's Ivy League contest at the Pizzitola Sports Center. Leading by two at the half, the Bears were halted by the determined visiting squad in the final 20 minutes of action.
Junior guard Lauren Clarke (Colts Neck, NJ) was the game's leading scorer, tallying a season-high 20 points for the second consecutive night, including 4-of-8 from beyond the three point arc. Harvard's Christine Clark was right on her heels, contributing 19 points to the Crimson offense.
Harvard grabbed an early advantage, nailing a three-pointer with less than 10 seconds on the clock, but the Bears quickly took control of the game, taking the lead on consecutive lay-ups by senior Caroline King (Valencia, PA) and Clarke and holding on to it for the rest of the first half.
As the teams battled back and forth for points in the early minutes of play, freshman Natalie Ball (Orlando, FL) went on a six point run to keep the Bears up, and Clarke contributed back-to-back lay-ups to grab a four-point edge that swung the momentum in Brown's favor with 14:19 left to play.
The home team built a steady lead, going up by 11 points on two perfect free throws from junior Jordin Juker (Boise, ID), but the Crimson snuck their way back into the game as the clock wound down with Elle Hagedorn sinking a three-pointer to tie the score, 33-33 with 1:52 left to play in the first half. However, a lay-up by Sophie Bikofsky (Newton, MA) gave the Bears a 35-33 advantage as the teams headed into the locker rooms for halftime.
Brown shot 50 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes of play, holding Harvard to 42.7 percent and just 37.5 percent at long range. The Bears were also 83.3 percent from the line, lead by Juker's perfect 4-for-4 effort.
The second half of the game took on a decidedly different tone, with the teams exchanging leads in the early minutes. Clarke nailed a trey to tie the game, 40-40, with 15:44 left to play but then the Crimson defense became impenetrable for the Bears, keeping them scoreless from the field for just over six minutes.
A lay-up by Clarke and a long-range basket by Bikofsky sparked the Bears' offense, but the visitors continued to exert steady pressure around their basket, going on an unanswered 11 point run to increase their lead to 14 with 47 seconds left in the game.
Bikofsky scored her third three-pointer to narrow the gap and the teams then proceeded to trade free throws until the buzzer, resulting in a 68-58 victory for the visiting Crimson.
Harvard out shot Brown from the field for the game, 41.4 percent to 35.8 percent, but the Bears nailed an impressive 13-of-15 from the line to average 86.7 percent in free throw shooting. The Crimson's Temi Fagbenle had a game-high nine rebounds, while freshman Ellise Sharpe (Tipp City, OH) contributed four assists, a game-high and career-high.
Brown will conclude its five game home stand next weekend with two league contests at the Pizzitola Sports Center. The Bears will tip-off against the Princeton Tigers on Friday, February 8 at 6:00pm before taking on the Penn Quakers at the same time on Saturday, February 9.