Thirteen was unlucky for Yale women’s basketball last night. But in the 2005-06 season, few numbers have held much luck for the struggling Elis.
The Bulldogs (1-12) finished up their 13-game non-conference season with a 59-53 loss to Fordham (6-7). The Elis hoped the comforts of only their fourth game in Payne Whitney this season would help them nail down a coveted second win, but home-court advantage would not be enough against their foes from the Bronx. With non-league games now in the past, Yale trods on through its disappointing season with only Ancient Eight teams left on the docket.
Besides her team’s slow start, Yale head coach Chris Gobrecht was especially disheartened by the Bulldogs’ performance tonight against a seemingly vulnerable foe.
“We just shot the ball so poorly,” she said. “This was a team we should have beaten. It’s not very often we can say that. This was a game that we should have won. We picked a bad night to play poorly, because a good effort would have won it for us.”
Although neither team blasted out of the gate, the Elis ran up a 9-5 lead nine minutes after the first whistle. But Ram Lisa Carroll, whose 22 points led the offensive charge that sunk the Bulldogs, spearheaded a 10-0 run over the next few minutes that put the home team at a six-point deficit. Yale captain Chinenye Okafor ’07 led the Yale countercharge, and after couple of free throws with just under two minutes to go before the break, Yale was back within one.
The Bulldogs hoped that intermission would be the turning point, after which they took the floor with a renewed drive and extra emphasis on stifling the Rams’ offense.
“Coming out of the locker room, our focus was defense,” center Erica Davis ’07 said. “Our shots weren’t dropping. The one thing we wanted to do was hold them.”
But it was the Rams who rode the momentum into the second half, seizing leads as high as eight in the opening moments of the second half.
Okafor said her team came out with the right attitude, but fell victim to mental lapses.
“They came out pretty strong,” she said “Instead of keeping on doing what’s working, subconsciously we forgot what we had to do to get it up there.”
But the victory would hardly be smooth sailing for Fordham. The Bulldogs put seven unanswered points on the board and challenged for the lead with just under ten minutes to go. Yet the home squad buckled with a chance to take the lead, allowing the Rams to mount a 10-0 run and take a 54-43 lead.
“At one point we were down by one, and they got lay-up and lay-up,” Davis said. “We let ourselves get too far behind and lost our momentum.”
Ten of the last 15 points of the game belonged to the Elis, including a final shot from behind the arc from freshman guard Jamie van Horne ’09, who scored a team-high 15 points, to bring the deficit down to six. But the last Fordham rally was too much for Yale, who dips to an unconvincing 1-12 on the young season.
Guard Emily St. Jean ’09 said she sees potential for her team despite the loss.
“We are capable of pulling some victories together and we need to play as a team and play hard every possession on the floor,” she said. “We can’t afford to lose our focus for even just one play on the floor.”
The Ivy League season kicks off Saturday against Brown. The Elis dropped both games against the Bears on back-to-back weekends last season.
–Staff Reporter Ellie Woodward contributed to this report.