Harvard, Penn Survive and Advance in Women's Basketball Postseason Tournaments
Portions of this story courtesy of Harvard and Penn Athletic Communications
PRINCETON, N.J. -- For the first time since 1977-78, the Ivy League saw a pair of teams win in the postseason. Harvard (21-8) defeated Hartford, 61-57, in the first round of the Postseason WNIT, marking the second-straight year the Crimson has reached the second round of the tournament. Meanwhile, Penn (17-12) held off Howard in the first round of the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI), its first postseason victory in program history.
In 1978, Princeton and Yale each picked up wins in the EAIWA Tournament.
For the Crimson, Elle Hagedorn followed her own miss with eight seconds to play to give her team a four-point advantage and essentially ice the game.
Hagedorn's last-second bucket accounted for her only points of the night but it ended a 5-0 run by Hartford to secure the victory. Harvard had gone on top by eight, 59-51, with 1:15 to play before the Hawks stormed back with five straight in the closing minute.
Victoria Lippert scored a game-high 19 points as Christine Clark added 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go with 10 rebounds. Temi Fagbenle chipped in 11 points and six boards.
Harvard will now face Drexel in the second round of the WNIT in Philadelphia, Saturday, March 23 at 7 p.m.
The Crimson owned a 44-27 advantage on the glass and shot 46.7 percent for the game despite a 2-of-16 performance from three-point range. Harvard also scored 32 points in the paint and added 19 second-chance points.
Christie Michals led Hartford (21-12) with 11 points as Ruthanne Doherty tallied 10.
In the WBI, the second-seeded Penn, which has now won 17 games for just the fourth time in program history, advances to play Fairfield at home on Saturday at 7 p.m. The third-seeded Stags topped sixth-seeded St. Francis (Pa.), 71-51 on Thursday in Connecticut. It will mark the first all-time meeting between Penn and Fairfield.
Senior captain Brianna Bradford set a program postseason record with a career-high five threes and finished with a team-best 16 points. She and junior center Courtney Wilson, who finished with a season-high 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting, sparked the Quakers off the bench. Those two alone outscored the Bison bench, 27-10.
In its fourth season, the WBI is a 16-team tournament split into two regions. Minnesota, who qualified for the WNIT this season, is the defending champion. The winner of the Penn-Fairfield matchup will play either top-seeded Detroit or No. 5 seed College of Charleston.