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Women’s basketball battles to the end in 80-73 loss to Harvard

Ada Anamekwe ’26 tallies career-high 14 rebounds, records first double-double in valiant effort

With 17 rebounds, Ada Anamekwe ’26 broke her career record in a game against Harvard.
With 17 rebounds, Ada Anamekwe ’26 broke her career record in a game against Harvard.

Following their thrilling victory over Penn on Feb. 17, the women’s basketball team (14-10, 5-6 Ivy) lost a hard-fought battle on Saturday in Cambridge against third-place Harvard (15-9, 8-3 Ivy).

The Bears, trailing by 10 points at halftime, kept close to the Crimson until the end. Down by three with just 31 seconds remaining, the Bears were twice forced to foul and twice failed to capitalize on offense, falling by a final score of 80-73.

“Harvard has a lot of weapons on offense, which challenged our defense in different ways,” Head Coach Monique LeBlanc wrote in a message to The Herald.

“We allowed (Harvard) to take advantage of our errors … simple things like defensive lapses, missed rebounds and fouls put them ahead of us,” wrote Ada Anamekwe ’26. “We continued to play with them throughout the entire game, without a doubt. We just need to be able to put the pieces together. We have the tenacity and fight to be a winning team against more formidable opponents.”

Anamekwe was one of a few Bears to deliver a standout performance in the contest, recording a career-high 14 rebounds to complement 16 points for her first collegiate double-double. Anamekwe said she actively set out to break her previous career rebounding mark, which was set last February in the same venue.

“Our coaches had been emphasizing all week that every game we played following our victory against Penn was the most crucial one of the year,” she wrote. “The moment we clarified what was at risk for us and how much was at stake, my mind was made up. I was determined to surpass my career high in rebounding.”

Point guard Grace Arnolie ’26 nearly set a career high of her own, tallying 24 points with the help of five successful three-pointers. This marked her third game since Jan. 20 with over 20 points scored. She now sits at second in the Ivy League with 55 triples on the season, just ahead of teammate Isabella Mauricio ’25, who ranks fourth.

“I've gained a lot of confidence in my shooting throughout this season, and my teammates and coaches have helped a lot by just telling me to shoot with confidence and let it fly when I'm open,” Arnolie wrote of her recent play. “I think their encouragement has allowed me to be more aggressive offensively, and combined with great assists from my teammates, helped me produce some of my higher scoring games.”

Along with Anamekwe and Arnolie, Bears’ top scorer Kyla Jones ’24 recorded 15 points — her fourth straight game with at least that many points scored.

LeBlanc spoke to the strong contributions from key players in the effort against Harvard.

“It was great to see Ada log a double-double in this game,” she wrote. “She does so much on the court to get us extra possessions and it was validated in her rebounding numbers. Grace did a great job hitting big shots that kept providing an answer when Harvard would try to move ahead. And Kyla found a way to get to the rim and score under pressure which is a big strength of hers.”

The Bears now find themselves tied for fourth place in the league with just three games left to play: a pair against Columbia and Cornell this weekend, followed by the regular season finale against Yale on March 9.

The Bears will host each game from the comfort of the Pizzitola Sports Center, aiming to take the fourth seed and advance to Ivy Madness in New York from March 15 to 17.

With the possibility of a playoff berth on the horizon, the Bears are determined to remain focused during the pivotal stretch ahead.

“As we approach our last three games, knowing that a berth to Ivy Madness is at stake, we are really focused on continuing to have great … preparation leading up to our games. We want to be able to play great defense and rebound at a high level, both of which are needed to win at the championship level,” LeBlanc wrote.

“We are all super excited by the idea of playing in Ivy Madness, but also very focused on staying in the moment and prioritizing the game ahead of us rather than overthinking the ‘what-ifs,’” Arnolie wrote. “This team has worked so hard every practice and game to get to the position we are in, and staying mentally tough right now is paramount to getting to Ivy Madness.”


Linus Lawrence

Linus is a sports editor from New York City. He is a junior concentrating in English, and when he's out of The Herald office you can find him rooting for the Mets, watching Star Wars or listening to The Beach Boys.

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