After trailing by 18 points to begin the fourth quarter, the Rutgers women’s basketball team was able to pull off a miraculous comeback, defeating Harvard 68-65 in overtime. The Scarlet Knights (4-1, 0-0) improve to 6-0 in all-time matchups against the Crimson (1-3, 0-0).
"Aside from the shots going down, it was about us locking down on defense, in the fourth especially,” said graduate student guard Sayawni Lassiter when asked about the comeback. “We followed scores with stops and it started on defense first. It opened things up in transition on the offensive end."
The game started off with junior guard Awa Sidibe leading the offensive charge, scoring 6 points in the first quarter. Harvard was able to respond, hitting half of its shots in the opening frame and taking a 1-point lead into the second quarter.
The Crimson immediately expanded on their lead with a 9-0 run, which was countered by a 6-0 Rutgers run. A 6-2 stretch over the last 4 minutes put Harvard up 31-26 at the halftime break.
The Knights fell into a large deficit in the third quarter, being outscored 21-8 over the 10 minutes. The Crimson had another efficient shooting quarter, hitting more than 50 percent of their shots while Rutgers made just 4 field goals on 17 attempts.
The Knights started the fourth quarter down 18, but quickly got back into the game after scoring 13 unanswered points and holding Harvard scoreless for the first 5 minutes of the quarter. Rutgers kept it a one-possession game for the rest of the quarter before a three from senior guard Lasha Petree tied the game up with nine seconds remaining, sending the contest to overtime.
The Knights took a 5-point lead halfway into the overtime and were able to keep that lead for the rest of the game. A pair of free throws from Lassiter put Rutgers up 3 and sealed the come-from-behind victory.
Petree led the Knights in scoring with 17 points, as Lassiter and Sidibe both reached double-digits as well. Graduate student forward Osh Brown had an impressive day on the boards, bringing down 19 rebounds, the most for a Rutgers player since 2014.
The Knights look to avenge the loss the men’s team took last week when they face DePaul in the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Thursday.
"I think our kids played with great spirit and heart,” said acting head women’s basketball coach Timothy Eatman. “They never gave up, kept their composure and kept fighting. We're proud of the tenacity when things got tough. We grew up tonight a little bit. We have a ways to go, but we're thankful for where we are tonight. We are 4-1 playing five games in 10 days. For a veteran team that would be difficult, and we have eight new players."
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