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Harvard Women’s Basketball Defeats UPenn at Home Behind Strong Performances from Krupa and Turner

Junior Harmoni Turner (pictured) and sophomore Katie Krupa led the Crimson to a 69-56 victory over the Penn Quakers on Saturday.
Junior Harmoni Turner (pictured) and sophomore Katie Krupa led the Crimson to a 69-56 victory over the Penn Quakers on Saturday. By Courtesy of Dylan Goodman/Harvard Athletics

On Saturday, the Harvard women’s basketball team defeated the University of Pennsylvania (10-7, 2-2 Ivy) by a decisive 13 points, 69-56. The Crimson (10-7, 3-1 Ivy) was powered by its typical leading scorers, sophomore Katie Krupa and junior Harmoni Turner.

The squad prepared for the game by studying the Quakers’ past performances, paying special attention to standout freshman Mataya Gayle and senior Jordan Obi. Despite this preparation, the Crimson was unable to piece together a cohesive first quarter and struggled to lock down Penn’s offense. The Crimson struggled to make three-point shots as well as to defend Gayle, who scored 13 of her total 19 points in the first half. Krupa attributed this slow start to the Crimson’s inability to quickly find its rhythm.

“At the beginning of the game we didn’t distribute the ball very well, and we were unsuccessful in getting into our flow,” Krupa said in an interview.

The second quarter saw more success for the team and set the squad up to enter the second half with a definitive 28-14 lead. The Crimson emerged from the locker room looking like the dominant team and continued to convert on this momentum despite navigating foul trouble from junior guard Elena Rodriguez, who picked up four boards and six points in 25 minutes of action.

Krupa continued to dominate throughout the second half and tallied her highest career point total with 25 for the game. Turner also led the team to success, tying her own personal record of 31 points in a single contest and logging her second 25-plus point effort since returning to the lineup from injury on Jan. 6th.

“My coaching staff and teammates do a really great job of believing in me and my abilities, so I felt more than confident to play at a high level,” Krupa said. “It felt good to perform and execute how I know I can.”

When asked about tying her all-time points record, Harmoni Turner shared Krupa’s sentiments. She added, however, that there were areas for improvement within her game, particularly in her first half play and her defense.

The team’s goal for its next game against league rival Yale will be to extend its high level of play to last for the entire forty minutes of each game. This goal becomes continuously more important as the Crimson starts to look towards the upcoming tournament season. Currently, Harvard is in fourth place in the Ivy League standings and must maintain its league ranking to qualify for the Ivy League Tournament and postseason play.

“We strive to go into every game and win,” Turner shared. “Our backs are kind of against the wall, just because a lot of people are counting us out. Among this group of girls, that only makes us motivated to work harder.”

In the upcoming month, the Crimson will face tough opponents, including rematches against Princeton, Columbia, and Brown — all strong Ivy League competitors.

“The end goal in short is to bring home a ring, bring home a banner, and make ourselves proud,” said Turner. “It hasn’t been done here in a while.”

The Crimson is set to tip-off against the Bulldogs (4-13, 1-3 Ivy) on Saturday, January 27th in New Haven, Connecticut at 1:00 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.

—Staff writer Isabel Smail can be reached at

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