Every road trip has its hills and valleys. On their journey to Cambridge and Hanover this weekend, the Yale women’s basketball team’s final weekend had plenty of both.
The Bulldogs (6-19, 3-9 Ivy) had their biggest win of the season Saturday evening when they defeated Dartmouth (15-9, 8-3) 78-71 in overtime. But the night before they beat the Ivy League’s second-place team, they suffered one of their most demoralizing losses this season, falling 84-60 to Harvard (13-11, 6-5).
“We played horrible against Harvard,” guard Julie Cohen ’04 said. “It was an uncharacteristically bad feeling after the game — [The following evening] we just came out fired up [against Dartmouth], determined to not ever feel like that after a game again.”
Saturday, the Elis got off to a strong start, building a 27-19 halftime lead at the Leede Arena. But in the second frame, it appeared as if the Big Green were going to pull off its third straight miracle comeback against Yale.
With the score tied 56-56, the Bulldogs had the ball with under 35 seconds to play. Although they had planned to hold for the last shot, Cohen penetrated and found guard Brynn Gingras ’04 open from behind the arc with 11 seconds to go. Similar to the play that won the game for Yale in overtime against Princeton the previous weekend, Gingras made the shot to put the Bulldogs up by three, but left enough time for Dartmouth to tie it back up.
On their final possession of regulation, the Big Green got the ball to guard Angie Soriaga who made a desperation 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
It was the first field goal of the game for Soriaga, the same player who banked in a half-court shot last season at the John J. Lee Amphitheater to send that game into overtime.
“Other than the frustration of seeing them get a 3-pointer at the buzzer, the way we saw it is ‘That’s fine — that just gives us an opportunity to win by more points,’” Yale center Erica Davis ’07 said.
The Bulldogs never let the Big Green back in the game, scoring 19 points — almost one quarter of their total score — in the extra period.
Yale forward Christina Phillips ’04 capped off a stellar offensive performance with a 3-point play that sealed the Elis’ victory. With 40 seconds to play, guard Tory Mauseth ’05 missed the first free-throw on a one-and-one opportunity, but Phillips pulled down the offensive rebound and went back up to get the basket and the foul.
“That play was a real turn of momentum towards us, and I think it really killed them,” Cohen said.
Phillips finished with 17 points and hit three-of-four shots from downtown. The Bulldogs shot 10-of-24 as a team from 3-point range, which helped take the pressure of Yale’s post players down low.
Davis finished with a team-high 19 points in 21 minutes of play.
Dartmouth’s freshman center Elise Morrison scored a game-high 24 points in 33 minutes. But it was not enough to help the Big Green gain on Pennsylvania (15-9, 9-2) — who also lost Saturday, 74-69 at Columbia — in the Ivy standings.
In the Elis’ Feb. 13 meeting against Dartmouth, the Bulldogs were outscored 36-11 in the second half, but this time, they put up a respectable 32 second-half points in response to the Big Green’s 40.
“The big difference [from last game] is that even though they made a run, we were able to dig our heels in in the second half, and never let them come back and gain a lead,” Cohen said.
The Bulldogs had no lead to give up against Harvard Friday night, trailing almost the entire game at the Lavietes Pavillion.
Davis finished with a game-high 17 points but scored only three points in the Elis’ sluggish first half.
“It took a while for me personally to get into the game,” Davis said. “As soon as I came in, I was being [double-teamed].”
Although Davis said she tried to play more aggressively on both ends of the court in the second half, the damage had already been done. Yale’s freshman center fouled out after playing 14 minutes total minutes, while Harvard’s star frontcourt duo combined for 45 points.
Cantab forward Hana Peltjo scored 23 points, and forward Reka Cserny finished with 22. Peltjo, the league’s back-to-back Player of the Year, scored her 2000th career point 1:23 into the first half.
“The Harvard game made us more determined to come out and play as hard as we could [against Dartmouth],” Davis said.