Stumbling Elis nab first season victory

Most people do little except eat turkey and hold down the couch over Thanksgiving break, but the women’s basketball team had a little bit more on its schedule. The Bulldogs traveled to Chicago, played four games and finally broke their 20-game road losing streak.

The Elis lost their home opener, 72-66, to Sacred Heart (2-3) Saturday after breaking their road drought three days earlier at Fairfield (3-3), 75-67. In the DePaul Invitational Tournament, Yale lost to both Stony Brook (4-0), 71-69, and No. 19 DePaul (4-1), 86-60.

In a tough game against Sacred Heart, four Bulldog players posted 10 or more points, but the Pioneers — led by guard Khalia Cain, who scored 22 points and was 14 for 17 at the free throw line — still beat the Elis by six.

“We started off down and they got excited, and we caught up to them,” captain and forward Chinenye Okafor ’07 said. “This is a game that we could have won. It just got away from us.”

Even in the loss, center Erica Davis ’07 tallied seven blocks, propelling her to the top of the Yale record books for blocks in a game, season and career in one swoop.

Before taking on the Pioneers at home, the Bulldogs traveled up I-95 to Bridgeport to face-off against Fairfield. Davis led the offense with 25 points and only missed one of her 10 free throws, and the Stags’ top scorer only racked up 19 points.

Yale posted a scoring percentage in the game of 42.6 and a free throw percentage of 73.5, just enough to top the Fairfield marks of a 40.3 scoring percentage and 65.2 free throw percentage. The Bulldogs went four-for-11 outside the three-point line, bettering the Stags’ two-for-10 performance.

Okafor said the Elis did not play as well as they should have, but they competed for the entire 40 minutes.

“We had a lot of mistakes,” she said. “But we just kept taking it to them, we never stopped. Finally we wore them down and they couldn’t compete anymore.”

In only the Bulldogs’ second-ever meeting with Stony Brook, the Seawolves defeated the Elis in the consolation game of the DePaul Invitational. Okafor scored 17 points and posted a career high of 13 rebounds. However, Stony Brook ran away with the game, taking the lead three minutes in and never letting go. Each team had a free throw percentage of 75 and almost even field goal percentages, but the Bulldogs could never catch up.

Against No. 19 DePaul, a game the Elis expected to help prepare them for Ivy League matchups later in the season, the Blue Demons pounded them 86-60. In the first half, the Bulldogs topped DePaul in field goal percentage, 48.1 to 33.3. Guard Melissa Colborne ’10 led the Elis with 14 points, and only DePaul’s China Threatt scored more, with 18.

“In DePaul we competed really well against a highly ranked team,” guard Jamie Van Horne ’09 said. “I definitely think that tournament helped us to have confidence in our ability to compete.”

The Elis left the Windy City with two losses, falling to the last-place Seawolves but also managing a competitive game against DePaul, a nationally-ranked team.

After a moderately successful fall break, the Bulldogs have a 1-4 record and will make the trek to Colorado Springs for the Air Force Classic.

“I don’t think we played great,” Van Horne said. “We played solid and we just played well together. We’re getting better every day.”

Comments