Photo courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications
PRINCETON, N.J. -- In a strange twist of fate,
on a week when only four Ivy League women’s basketball teams
took to the hardwood, the two teams at the top of the standings
both fell, while the team that entered the week in last place
picked up a victory.
Columbia (2-8) ended a five-game losing streak with a 49-45 home win over St. Francis (N.Y.). The Lions were led by senior Brittany Simmons, who had an impressive all-around game with a game-high 11 points along with seven rebounds, five assist and four steals. The Lions’ defense held strong against the Terriers, limiting them to 30.0 from the field (15-of-50), including 18.8 percent from downtown (3-of-16).
The two teams at the top of the standings, Harvard (7-3) and Princeton (5-3), both suffered hard-fought road losses.
The Crimson traveled across town to face a Boston University team that has wins over then-No. 17 St. John’s and Marist. Although Harvard held a lead throughout most of the second half, including a five-point advantage with 5:06 remaining, BU was able to come back to take the game into overtime. Basketball is a game of runs, and that adage held true in the overtime session, as Harvard opened with a 4-0 run before the Terriers closed out the contest with an 11-0 streak to escape with the win.
The loss ended a four-game winning streak for the Crimson, which saw sophomore Temi Fagbenle (14 points, 14 rebounds) and senior Miriam Rutzen (12 points, seven rebounds) combine for 26 points and 21 boards.
The Tigers, meanwhile, traveled south to Philadelphia to take on an 8-1 Villanova squad. Princeton cut a 16-point second half deficit to four, at 45-41 with 6:14 remaining, but was unable to complete the come back and fell, 61-54.
Senior Niveen Rasheed recorded game-highs in points (15) and assists (five) and team-highs in rebounds (seven), while junior Kristen Helmstetter (11 points, 6 rebounds) and sophomore Blake Dietrick (10 points, 5 rebounds) also played well. It marked the first time this season that Princeton lost when two or more players scored in double figures.
Dartmouth took its talents to South Beach, where it fell to Florida International, 64-57. The Panthers needed a career performance from junior Jerica Coley (39 points) to get past the Big Green, which had three players score in double figures.
Sophomore Abbey Schmitt led the way with 13 points, while sophomores Kamala Thompson and Milica Toskovic posted 11 points apiece. Fellow classmate Tia Dawson grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds in the loss.
Five teams will be in action in the upcoming week. Cornell will take on Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Tuesday and No. 18 Texas on Thursday and Princeton will face Illinois State on Wednesday and DePaul on Friday. Thursday also features Yale hosting Marist and Dartmouth traveling to Marquette. Penn will walk down 33rd street to take on Drexel on Friday.
PLAYER/ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
For the first time since 2010-11, a rookie has earned Player and Rookie of the Week honors. Harvard sophomore Temi Fagbenle (London) recorded her second career double-double with 14 points and a personal-best 14 rebounds in the Crimson’s 68-61 overtime loss to Boston University while playing a career-high 32 minutes. Fagbenle also proved to be clutch, hitting a free throw with 22 seconds remaining to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Fagbenle’s 14 rebounds were the highest total for a member of the Crimson since Emma Markley grabbed 15 against Northeastern on Dec. 9, 2009, and the most for a Harvard rookie since Hana Peljto recorded 15 against New Hampshire on Nov. 28, 2000. Fagbenle is the first Crimson rookie to record multiple double-doubles since Victoria Lippert notched three in 2009-10.
Penn’s Alyssa Baron (Jan. 24, Feb. 7) and Yale’s Janna Graf (Jan. 17) were the last rookies to take home both weekly awards in the same week. Fagbenle, who earned Rookie of the Week on Nov. 12 and Dec. 10, is Harvard’s first three-time recipient since Christine Clark in 2010-11 and her honor also marks the seventh for the Crimson this season, as Lippert was Player of the Week on Nov. 19 and Dec. 3 and Clark was Player of the Week on Nov. 26. Harvard is the first school to open the season with six-straight weekly awards since Dartmouth began the 2003-04 campaign with seven-straight weekly awards.
Fagbenle's Statistics for the Week
|at Boston University
Tia Dawson, Dartmouth (So., C – Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
2 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks at FIU
Niveen Rasheed, Princeton (Sr., G – Danville, Calif.)
15 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal at Villanova
Abbey Schmitt, Dartmouth (So., F – Winnetka, Ill.)
13 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 60.0 FG% at FIU
Brittany Simmons, Columbia (Sr., G – McIntosh, Ala.)
11 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals , 100.0 FT% vs. St. Francis (N.Y.)
Tuesday, December 18
Cornell at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 8 pm
Wednesday, December 19
Princeton at Illinois State, 8:05 pm
Thursday, December 20
Cornell at Texas, 8 pm
Marist at Yale, 6 pm
Dartmouth at Marquette, 8 pm
Friday, December 21
Penn at Drexel, 1 pm
Princeton at DePaul, 8 pm