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Harvard Falls to Princeton 72-49 At Home, Now 1-1 in Ivy League Play

Harvard women's basketball dropped its first game of Ivy League play in a lopsided loss to the Princeton Tigers on Saturday.
Harvard women's basketball dropped its first game of Ivy League play in a lopsided loss to the Princeton Tigers on Saturday. By Courtesy of Dylan Goodman/Harvard Athletics
By Molly R. Malague, Crimson Staff Writer

After jumping into conference play with a decisive win against Yale, Harvard women’s basketball (8-7, 1-1) hosted the Tigers in a rematch of the 2023 Ivy tournament championship. The Saturday bout, just like that fateful evening last March, ended in Crimson defeat. The Tigers (12-3, 2-0) opened a 16-4 first quarter lead, and the Crimson spent the rest of the game struggling to get back within striking distance.

This matchup is always a blockbuster. Last season, Harvard spoiled Princeton’s 42-game Ivy win streak, but ultimately split the regular season series. Princeton later claimed a thrilling conference title game 54-58. Prior to this 94th matchup between the two teams, Princeton owned a narrow 51-42 series lead.

Despite the hype surrounding the game – which drew a sold-out crowd – junior guard Harmoni Turner approached Saturday’s game like any other. “I don’t really believe in rivalries,” she said. “I think every game that we play is going to be a dog fight against us.”

A dog fight it was. Harvard’s hopes were high off the tip; the home team opened with a big block and a great look at an open three. Much of the energy in Lavietes Pavilion petered out from there, though, and a lockdown Princeton defense left the home team helpless offensively. The Crimson netted a meager 4 points before the first buzzer, while shooting 2-14 from the field.

“We have all the pieces, but we just need to put them together,” sophomore forward Katie Krupa said. “We were disconnected today, so we must regain our rhythm.”

Rallying some semblance of that rhythm and rebounding in the second frame with 72 percent shooting from the field meant 18 points for Harvard. Only 15 for Princeton shrunk the lead to within ten as the squads headed to the locker room for the half.

Though Harvard scraped together 13 and 14 points in the final two quarters, it was far from enough to match Princeton’s 20 and 21. Giving team-leading guards Harmoni Turner and Lola Mullaney no room to cut or drive ultimately proved fatal. Turner hit for 12 and Mullaney for 16, while Saniyah Glenn-Bello added 9 points and Elena Rodriguez pulled down 9 boards.

Six Princeton players put together double-digit performances, highlighting a depth that opponents struggle to defend. The team was led by sophomore Madison St. Rose with 16 and Skye Belker with 13. Point guard Kaitlyn Chen – last year's Ivy Player of the Year – added 10, failing to meet her season average of 16.

Princeton is both a consistent league-leader and a frequent selection for the NCAA March Madness tournament. Two of their three losses this season came to teams ranked in the top twenty nationally. Though only the league champion is guaranteed a spot in the tournament, the strength of the Ivy conference has recently sparked speculation about a second bid.

“The league is super strong this year,” Krupa said. “It’s exciting for the Ivy League, but also keeps conference play super competitive and fun.”

To hang with the best moving forward, the Crimson are dialing in at practice. It will focus on re-establishing its rhythm.

“We can connect by sharing the ball, giving each other energy, and finding our offensive flow,” Krupa said.

Freshman guard Abigail Wright emphasized a champions’ preparation. “A main focus this week, as it always is, will be to show up, prepare and practice like champions,” she said. “Keeping a championship mentality and holding one another accountable to that behavior has always been a focus of ours.”

Harvard does not have much turnaround time to right the ship. It will board the bus for a game at Brown on Monday afternoon at 3:00 p.m., seeking its 16th consecutive win over the Bears.

—Staff writer Molly Malague can be reached at

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