GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The University of North Dakota fell to Harvard 65-52 in the regular season debut for the team on Sunday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Juniors Megan Lauck and Katie Houdek each scored 15 points to lead the way for the UND offense.
UND could not overcome a sluggish start that saw the home team manage just 19 first-half points. The Crimson took advantage, building a 29-19 lead at the break. HU guard Christine Clark led all scorers with 17 and forward Temi Fagbenle added a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Houdek had a pair of field goals early for North Dakota, but they would be the lone scores for the home team until the 14:30 mark as Harvard got out to a 12-6 advantage. Early foul trouble meant UND had to go to its bench more often in the opening half and the Crimson were able to grab 10 of their 29 first-half points from the free throw line.
At the break, Harvard (1-1) had a 10-point cushion, despite making just one three-pointer, a team strength heading into the contest. UND would not contain the perimeter shooters for the entire game, however, as the Crimson made good on 4-of-6 from deep in the second stanza to help put the game away.
Reserve forward Emma Golen was the primary threat from 3-point range, drilling all four of her attempts, including three in the second half.
Lauck cut UND's deficit to just six with a 3-pointer of her own early in the second half, but Victoria Lippert immediately answered with five points of her own and later Temi Fagbenle hit back-to-back jumpers to stretch the lead back to double digits. Golen pushed the lead out to 14 on the strength of back-to-back 3-pointers just a couple of minutes later.
Houdek and Hauck did try to get UND back in the game late from the free throw line, cutting the visitor's lead to nine in the closing minutes. However, Lippert again scored four straight quick points to squash the late comeback attempt.
Forward Madi Buck added eight points and a team-high eight rebounds for UND.
Harvard had four players in double figures scoring, led by Christine Clarks' 17 and 14 from Lippert. Fagbenle added 13 and Golen 12 for Harvard.
North Dakota (0-1) returns to action next Sunday to start a four-game road swing. UND will travel to Ames, Iowa for a battle with the Iowa State Cyclones. Tip is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Central.