NEW HAVEN, Conn. - In a matchup between teams that entered the night tied atop the Ivy League standings, Yale and Harvard played a game that went down to the wire before the Crimson escaped with a 58-57 win at John J. Lee Amphitheater on Saturday night.
Yale (10-10, 4-2 Ivy League) took the early lead, riding a hot-shooting Sarah Halejian to build an eight-point advantage in the first half. Halejian scored five straight points and Janna Graf tacked on a pair of foul shots as the Bulldogs jumped out to an early 7-5 lead.
The Bulldogs continued to lead throughout much of the first half and held the Crimson scoreless over a four-minute span to push the lead to 24-18 after Hayden Latham, Katie Werner each hit a foul shot and Halejian tacked on two more.
Harvard (15-5, 5-1) ended its scoring drought with a Temi Fagbenle layup, but a three-pointer by Halejian and foul shot by Graf quickly gave Yale its largest lead of the night at 28-20. The teams traded three-pointers on the next two possessions and the Bulldogs took a 31-23 lead into half.
The Crimson opened the second half with four straight points, before the Bulldogs sandwiched a jumper by Halejian and three-pointer by Lena Munzer around an Erin McDonnell layup to make it 36-29 with 17:07 to play.
Harvard responded with eight straight points from McDonnell to take a 37-36 lead, but Graf answered with a three-pointer for Yale as the teams traded baskets on the next two possessions.
With just over 10 minutes remaining Harvard went on an 11-1 run, capped off by a Christine Clark layup, to take a 50-42 lead with 5:00 to play.
Yale was still trailing, 55-48, with 3:27 to play before Halejian and Graf scored on consecutive possessions and Munzer hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 55-55 with 52 seconds to play.
Harvard regained a 58-55 lead on a jumper from Melissa Mullins and a foul shot by Jasmine Evans with just 22 seconds to play.
Halejian converted two foul shots on Yale's next possession and following a timeout, the Bulldogs forced a turnover to set up for a final shot. Halejian got to the corner and took a final shot up, but it was off the mark and the Crimson held on for the one-point win.
Halejian scored 19 points in the first half and finished the night with a game-high 27 points. Graf chipped in with 10 points and a season-high 11 rebounds. The Bulldogs pressured Harvard into 19 turnovers on the night, but were held to just 27.4 percent shooting.
McDonnell led Harvard with 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Evans and Clark added 11 and 10, respectively. The Crimson held a 49-42 rebounding edge and shot 38.9 percent for the game.
Yale is back in action on Friday, Feb. 14, at Penn in a 7 p.m. tip-off.
Report filed by Jeff Mead, Yale Sports Publicity