The women’s basketball team found a little light at the end of the dark tunnel it had traveled for the past two weekends.
After losing 59-39 to Dartmouth and 90-55 to Harvard last week, and then dropping a 75-49 decision to Princeton (12-10, 4-5 Ivy) Friday, the Elis (5-18, 2-8) overtook the University of Pennsylvania (12-10, 5-4) in a thrilling 74-64 overtime victory Saturday night at the Palestra.
While trailing 50-44 with only 5:28 left in regulation, Bulldog point guard Tory Mauseth ’05 scored to trigger a 13-1 Yale run to take a 57-51 lead. After scores from Eli centers Erica Davis ’07 and Sarah Zoubek ’08 and a few Penn baskets, the Bulldogs held onto a three-point lead, 61-58. With only seven seconds left in the game, Quaker guard Karen Habrukowich sank a three to tie the game and sent the contest into overtime.
The extra five minutes of game play belonged solely to the Elis, as Yale outscored Penn 13-3 in overtime, including an 8-0 run triggered on a drive to the lane from Eli captain Morgan Richards ’05.
“We had the momentum going in our favor [in the second half],” Richards said. “We were down by nine points in the second half and just picked up the speed from there and since so many of our players had been in the game, everyone was able to keep the pace moving in overtime.”
Davis notched her third double-double on Saturday against the Quakers and led the Bulldogs with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Richards added another 17 points and seven rebounds and Zoubek chipped in nine points.
Quaker guard Joey Rhoads led her squad with 16 points followed by Habrukowich and Penn forward Monica Naltner, who each scored 14 points.
The Elis knew exactly what they needed to do to get the win over Penn. The Bulldogs put pressure on the Quakers’ key post player, Jennifer Fleischer, holding Penn’s leading rebounder to only four boards on the night.
“We played a zone defense for the first time this season against Penn,” Mauseth said. “It really threw off Penn’s game because they were so used to playing against our man-to-man defense.”
This was the first road victory for the Elis and it gave them a huge boost of confidence, despite their performance the previous night against the Tigers at Jadwin Gym.
Coming off of a 37-25 halftime edge, Princeton continued to pull away from Yale with several fast breaks, including a 7-0 run to give the Tigers a 22-point lead.
The Elis only shot 23 percent from the field against Princeton.
Mauseth led the Bulldogs with 16 points Friday night, including three shots from beyond the arc to push her Yale-record career three-point total to 161. Eli center Julie Mantilla ’07 had a career-high eight rebounds and Davis had three blocks.
“We definitely didn’t work as hard as we should have against Princeton,” Davis said. “We were playing the whole time as if we were numb.”
The win over Penn the following night took the Princeton game off of the players’ minds and set their focus on hosting Harvard and Dartmouth at the John J. Lee Amphitheater next weekend.
“These are our last two home games of the season,” Davis said. “The energy we got to beat Penn on their court lets us know that we’re capable of beating Harvard on ours. We want to beat Harvard — we want our revenge.”