The women’s basketball team has yet to prove that it can win on the road, win after being down at halftime or kick its habit of too many turnovers.
In a road trip north over the weekend, Yale (11-13, 4-6 Ivy) lost to Dartmouth (13-10, 7-2), 67-59, in a match that was decided at the charity stripe. Then the Bulldogs traveled to Cambridge on Saturday, where they suffered a defeat at the hands of Harvard (10-12, 8-1), 68-58, in the squad’s fifth-straight road loss.
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Against the Big Green, seven points from guard Melissa Colborne ’10 drove the Elis to an early 11-10 lead on her way to a team-high 17-point night. But Colborne turned the ball over a few seconds later, and an Ashley Taylor layup gave Dartmouth a lead it would not surrender for the next 25 minutes.
The Big Green all but shut down the Elis in the final minutes of the opening stanza. The home team kept the Bulldogs scoreless for four minutes before guard Stephanie Marciano ’08 stole the ball — the second of her four takeaways for the night — to set up a trey by forward Jacqueline Erickson ’10 in the final minute, and the Elis went into the break behind, 27-23.
The final result of Friday’s match could have been predicted when the Bulldogs entered the locker room for halftime, as Yale has yet to win a game when trailing at the break. A 14-10 Eli run to open the second half culminated in a 37-37 tie with just over 10 minutes left on the clock. The Elis took their last lead of the game with six minutes remaining.
But then the Big Green found their rhythm from the free throw line, converting 18 of 20 attempts. The Bulldogs, who dropped just 10 of 16 free throws in the final 20 minutes, were outclassed by a Big Green squad that notched 27 points from the charity stripe.
“We shot poorly from the line,” center Sara McCollum ’08 said. “So we were forced to foul them at the other end. That’s a killer.”
Marciano sunk two long balls and a layup in a last-ditch comeback attempt for the Elis but could not prevent the 67-59 Dartmouth victory.
The typically quick and aggressive Dartmouth squad brought more energy than usual Friday night, Marciano said.
“The intensity that they brought was unlike anything they’ve done before,” she said. “But I think we matched it. and [the game] just came down to the wire.”
After the disappointing defeat at Dartmouth, the Bulldogs made their way into hostile territory at Lavietes Pavilion where they faced off against their archrival Crimson.
In a reversal of fortunes from the previous night, the Elis’ opponents climbed ahead to the early lead Saturday. The Bulldogs scored just eight points in the first 14 minutes, off an early Colborne layup and two long balls by guard Jamie Van Horne ’09, but conceded 24 points to the Crimson.
Then four consecutive treys — three from Van Horne, who finished the night with 67 percent accuracy from behind the arc, and one from Marciano — helped the Bulldogs find their way again.
But sharpshooting was not enough, and the Elis were unable to quell the creativity of the Harvard offense. The Cantabs fed the ball inside with ease, racking up 38 of their game-total 68 points from the paint. Surprisingly, it was not Harvard’s forwards who tallied points from underneath the basket — starting forwards Christiana Lackner and Katie Rollins combined for just 14 total points — but the three guards, who racked up 48 points.
The Bulldogs’ struggles put them in a familiar situation — a halftime deficit. With 50 seconds left in the half, Harvard guard Lindsay Hallion tore straight up the center of the court and dropped in a layup for the final points before the break. For the second time in two days, the Elis left the court trailing, this time by five points.
“We broke down a little early,” Yale head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “The game was the first five minutes. You can’t spot a team a lead and play catchup the rest of the game.”
The second half saw a comparable lack of energy, and the Elis were unable to create options for themselves on offense, relying on Marciano to shoot from afar or drive the ball inside. Marciano shot a dismal 3-of-9 from the field, but her hustle down the length of the court was of considerable value to the Elis. She had seven assists and was one of just two starters with a positive assist-turnover ratio. Her five steals tied for the game-high, and her three rebounds were the most of any starting Yale guard.
Despite Marciano’s efforts, old bad habits came back to haunt the Bulldogs. Many of the Elis’ astronomical 26 turnovers were converted on the other end of the court, resulting in 26 Crimson points off of Eli mistakes.
The Bulldogs also struggled at what is usually their forte — rebounding. Center Erica Davis ’07, the squad’s top rebounder, racked up only five boards, with Marciano following with three. The Bulldogs were able to snag only seven offensive boards, and the Cantabs, unsurprisingly, outrebounded the Elis, 32-23.
“[Winning] takes a lot of work and energy, and we didn’t bring that on every possession,” Marciano said. “It seems like they wanted it a little bit more.”
After getting swept on the road for the second time, the Bulldogs remain in sixth place in Ancient Eight standings and have all but destroyed their hopes of winning a title this year.