Harvard women rout Towson in opening round of the WNIT

Harvard sophomore guard Harmoni Turner delivered a triple-double in the Crimson’s first-round WNIT win over Towson at Lavietes Pavilion Thursday. (Erica Denhoff)

Harvard sophomore point guard Harmoni Turner posted a triple-double to lead the Crimson to a 103-63 victory over Towson in the first round of the WNIT Thursday night.

Turner’s 21 points on 8-for-17 field-goal shooting, 13 assists and 10 rebounds made her only the second Harvard player and sixth Ivy athlete ever to record the feat.

By the end of the joyous evening at Lavietes Pavilion, six different Crimson players scored in double figures, the team had a season-high 26 assists, and the program notched its first 100-plus-point game since February 2019.

Towson (21-12), which won the regular season CAA championship, jumped out to a 16-5 advantage with two and a half minutes to go in the opening quarter, but Harvard (18-11) finished the frame on a 7-2 run to cut the deficit to six.

The Crimson chipped away at the deficit in the second quarter and took the lead, 25-23, on a McKenzie Forbes three-pointer at the 6:14 mark.  After the teams traded the lead three times over the next few minutes, the score was knotted at 32 with two minutes left in the half.

Harvard finished the frame strong, going 3-for-3 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line to head to the locker room with a 43-32 lead.

Up 13 points four minutes into the second half, the Crimson put the game away for good with a 25-4 run to end the third quarter with a 78-44 lead. 

Harvard stretched the advantage to a game-high 46 points, 94-48, before starting to empty the bench.

The Crimson were on fire from the field, shooting 60% from two (30-for-50) and 52% from three (11-for-21).

Junior guard Lola Mullaney ended the night with a game-high 22 points, shooting 5-for-8 from three-point range, while Forbes and reserve first-year forward Katie Krupa each added 14.  First-year guard Saniyah Glenn-Bello and senior guard Maggie McCarthy were the last two members of the double-digit sextet, scoring 12 points each.

On the defensive side, Harvard limited Towson to 45% shooting from inside the arc and only 18% (3-17) from beyond the stripe. The Crimson also outrebounded Towson 42-27.

First-year coach Carrie Moore’s Crimson, arguably playing their best basketball of the season, now head to the second round of the WNIT and look to make it through to the Super 16 for the first time in program history. 

Harvard will await the winner of Friday night’s UMass/Albany contest with the location of the next game to be determined at a later time.  If the Crimson take on UMass, the A-10 regular season champion, they will look to revenge a 77-67 defeat against the Minutewomen at Lavietes Pavilion on November 18.