Women's Basketball Holds Off Harvard, 74-69

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BOSTON, Mass. -A pair of freshmen and a senior captain provided some clutch shooting late in the second half to lift the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team to a 74-69 win at Harvard on Saturday night.

Five Quakers finished in double figures, including three freshmen, as Pennswept the road trip to Harvard and Dartmouth for the first time in 11 years and earned its third straight win to improve to 11-6 overall and 2-1 in Ivy play. It also marked the first back-to-back wins at Lavietes Pavilion since 2000-01.

How it Happened
In a tie game late in the second half, freshmen Anna Ross and Beth Brzozowski, and senior captain Kathleen Roche hit three clutch threes to take a double-digit lead. Then in the final minutes, that trio's clutch free throw shooting held off a furious Crimson rally. Ross, Brzozowski and Roche scored the last 28 points for the Quakers and were 17-of-18 from the free throw line in the final 2:22.

Penn led 48-43 with under six minutes to play when Rosshit a three to cap an 8-0 run and force a Harvard timeout. Moments later, Rochewas open on the wing and drained another three for a 54-45 lead with just 3:51 to play. Then, less than a minute later, Brzozowskiconnected on another three to put Penn up 57-47.

After that trifecta of treys, it all came down to the free throw line. Harvard began to foul to extend the game and it worked. The Crimson offense came alive. But Penn countered at the charity stripe. The same trio -- Roche, Ross and Brzozowski -- combined to go 9-for-10 from the free throw line and Penn maintained a 66-54 lead with 54 seconds left.

However, the Crimson hit a three, forced a turnover, converted a layup, forced another turnover and hit two free throws. Just like that, Penn's lead was just 66-61 with 31.3 seconds left.

Roche once again swished two free throws, but Harvard hit a three and it was just a four-point game, 68-64, with 26.7 to play. Then Brzozowski stepped to the line on back-to-back possessions and the rookie sunk all four to keep Penn ahead, 72-66 with 13 seconds remaining. For good measure, Ross hit the final two free throws to finally put away the Crimson.

Harvard (8-10, 1-3 Ivy) jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first two minutes. Penn called a timeout and regrouped to the tune of an 11-2 run behind a pair of threes from Roche-- the second of which gave the Red and Blue an 11-9 lead at the 14:28 mark.

The game was tied 15-15 when Penn went on another run. Brzozowskihit her second three of the half, freshman Michelle Nwokedi scored twice inside and senior Kara Bonenberger added a pair of her own baskets to put Penn up 26-16 with 6:02 left in the half.

However, Harvard responded on its home court. The Crimson scored 17 of the last 21 points of the half and retook the lead at the break, 33-30.

Both teams struggled to score at the outset of the second half. Harvard held a 37-35 lead with 13:41 to play and the teams traded baskets for the next several minutes. Midway through the half, it was tied, 43-43.

Nwokedi and Ross scored to give the Quakers a 48-43 advantage and set up the finish for Brzozowski, Roche and Ross.

Inside the Numbers
Ross finished with a career-high 19 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field and 9-for-9 accuracy from the free throw line. Roche finished with 16 points, Brzozwski matched a career best with 14 points, Nwokedi tallied 11 points and Bonenberger added 10. This is the first time Penn has had five players score in double figures since the win at Harvard last season.

Ross, Bonenberger and Nwokedi all had six rebounds to lead the Quakers, who were slightly outrebounded, 37-36. Ross also had a team-high four assists, while Bonenberger and Brzozowski added three apiece as Penn finished with 15 as a team.

Penn was 21-of-52 (40.4%) from the field and 9-of-20 (45.0%) from three. Harvard was 23-of-61 (37.7%) overall and 9-of-15 (60.0%) from three.

As a team, the Quakers were 23-of-29 (79.3%) from the free throw line. Penn has now won 18 of the last 19 games when shooting better than 70 percent from the charity stripe.

(More) Fun Facts
Penn is now 14-2 (.875) in its last 16 Ivy League games ... The Quakers remained undefeated in regulation (21-0) under head coach Mike McLaughlin when scoring more than 70 points ... Penn improved to 38-2 over the last three seasons when shooting better than 40 percent from the field.

Up Next
Penn returns to The Palestra for its first Ivy home games of the season. The Quakers have won six straight over Ivy opponents at the Cathedral of College Basketball and will welcome Cornell on Friday and Columbia on Saturday. Both games tip off at 7 p.m., and can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network (ILDN.tv).

Fan Tweet of the Game

@PennWBB Great New England road trip! Fun watching you all win on @ESPN3

— Chaz Howard (@Chaz_Howard) February 1, 2015

#FightOnPenn

Download: 17 - Harvard Box.pdf