Women's Basketball Falls Late to Harvard, 57-53

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PHILADELPHIA - It was almost a storybook ending on Senior Night, but the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team fell just short in the final minute in a 57-53 loss to Harvard Saturday at The Palestra.

Penn (10-14, 4-7 Ivy) tied the game, 50-50, with 1:51 remaining when sophomore Alyssa Baron found freshman Kara Bonenberger open under the basket.

Harvard (14-11, 7-4 Ivy) hit a three on its next possession though. Baron's free throw made it a two-point deficit, 53-31, but Harvard scored in response. Freshman Jackie Kates' offensive rebound and lay-up got it back to a two-point game with 24 seconds left. Harvard sealed it though with two free throws for the final margin.

It marked the final home game for seniors Jess Knapp and Jourdan Banks, who were honored prior to the game. Both made an impact right after tip off. On Penn's first possession, Banks hauled in an offensive rebound which led to a layup from Knapp.

Knapp had Penn's first five points and Baron had the next five to give the Quakers a 10-9 lead just four minutes into the contest.

Baron hit her second three of the game at the 13:46 mark for a 15-11 advantage. But Harvard scored 10 of the next 12 points to go up 21-17.

The Crimson led 27-23 with a bucket at the 5:53 mark. But that would be the last field goal of the half for Harvard's high-scoring offense.

Freshman Katy Allen hit a three and Knapp made a go-ahead layup to put the Quakers up one. Baron then hit her third three of the half and the Red and Blue carried a 31-28 lead into intermission.

Harvard usually forces high-paced and high-scoring affairs. But the start of the second half was defensive and the Crimson crept ahead in the first five minutes, 35-33.

Later, the Crimson scored five straight to go up, 44-37, with 9:01 left. The Quakers battled back though. Back-to-back three-point plays from Knapp and Baron got the deficit to 44-43 just two minutes later.

Penn then tied it, 48-48, at the 3:53 mark on Baron's fourth three of the game.

Banks finished her final game at The Palestra with two points and a rebound, assist and steal in 10 minutes. Knapp concluded her Palestra career with 10 points and led the team in rebounds (eight), assists (four) and steals (three).

Baron had a game-high 20 points in addition to four rebounds and three assists. Allen finished with seven points and a team-best two blocks, while Kates added eight in the scoring column. Bonenberger had all six of Penn's bench points and grabbed four boards.

Harvard was 20-of-46 (43.5%) from the field, while the Quakers were 21-of-58 (36.2%) overall. Penn made eight three-pointers on 21 attempts (38.1%). Harvard held a slight edge in rebounding, 35-31, but Penn had four fewer turnovers.

Three more Ivy games await the Quakers to conclude the 2011-12 campaign. Penn heads to Brown (Friday) and Yale (Saturday) for their last Ivy weekend and then travels to Princeton for the season finale on Tuesday, March 6.

Download: 25-Harvard.pdf