The women’s basketball team’s New York road trip ended with another weekend split for the Elis.
The Bulldogs (8–12, 4–2 Ivy) defeated Cornell (5–15, 2–4) 57–49 in Ithaca on Friday night before falling at Columbia (5–15, 4–2) 67–57 the next day.
“This is probably the toughest road trip because Cornell is so far away, and Columbia had a bunch of fans, so it was a really tough environment,” captain Yoyo Greenfield ’11 said. “I feel like we didn’t really step up to play the second night out.”
After splitting the weekend games, the Bulldogs are now tied with Columbia for third place in the Ancient Eight standings, behind Harvard and Princeton.
The road trip began when the Elis traveled to upstate New York face the Big Red. Despite a slow offensive start to the game, the Bulldogs rallied in the second half to power past Cornell.
“I think it’s a good sign when you can not play your best and get it done on the road,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “I thought we really struggled, and it had all the signs of one of those nightmarish games on the road. We had people in foul trouble, and we couldn’t get anything, and we had a really hard time getting on track offensively.”
Three Elis ended the night with double-digit point totals. Forward Mady Gobrecht ’11 scored a game-high 18 points and pulled down six rebounds, while guard Megan Vasquez ’13 and forward Janna Graf ’14 totaled 14 points each.
The Bulldogs also saw the return of Greenfield, who had missed the last 13 games with lingering concussion symptoms from a collision she suffered in November. Greenfield was limited to five minutes off the bench and had one rebound and one steal.
“It was great to have her out there,” coach Gobrecht said. “She’s got to get some rust out and whatnot, but she’s going to be important to us. I think that every game she’s going to keep getting better and better.”
Guards Allyson DiMagno and Taylor Flynn led Cornell with 10 points each in the effort. DiMagno also grabbed nine boards, while guard Stephanie Long tallied a game-high five assists.
The Big Red opened the game by outscoring the Bulldogs 12–3 over the first eight minutes to take an early lead. But the Elis responded with 12 unanswered points, seven of which were from Gobrecht, to go up 15–12 at the 9:47 mark.
Still, the Bulldogs’ edge did not last long, as Cornell used two consecutive layups to take a slim 16–15 lead.
The two teams traded buckets for the remainder of the half, but Flynn knocked down two free throws with 48 seconds left to give the Big Red a 24–21 advantage at halftime.
Cornell started the second half by expanding its lead to eight after Kristina Danielak hit a pair of jumpers and Clare Fitzpatrick added a free throw. But the Bulldogs used three shots from beyond the arc from Vasquez, forward Ericka von Kaeppler ’13 and Gobrecht to get back in the game and trim Cornell’s lead to 31–30 at the 12:28 mark.
One minute later, a pair of shots from the charity stripe from forward Michelle Cashen ’12 gave the Bulldogs a one-point lead. Cornell’s Maka Anyanwu countered with a layup that gave the Big Red a 33–32 lead with 11:16 to play, but that would be the last time Cornell would lead. The Bulldogs shutdown Cornell’s offense over the next 4:32 while scoring 10 consecutive points to go up 42–33 with 7:14 left on the clock.
“We had trouble scoring in the first half, so in the second half we really worked on executing our offense,” Vasquez said. “Also, we switched up our defenses during the second half and Cornell had a hard time scoring on us.”
Still, the Big Red battled back to cut the deficit. A layup from Spencer Lane brought Cornell within four points with 3:15 to play, but that would be as close as Cornell would get. The Elis hit key free throws down the stretch to secure their fourth league win.
“They were very physical and played hard,” coach Gobrecht said. “It wasn’t that pretty, but we got it done. But I do think we need to play better tomorrow night.”
The Elis continued their New York swing the next day when they visited the Big Apple to take on Columbia at Levien Gymnasium. Though the two teams battled back and forth for most of the first half, the Lions used a second-half offensive surge to outpace the Bulldogs.
“I feel like we did not play as smart as we could have played, and we did not play up to our potential,” Greenfield said.
Vasquez scored a game-high 17 points and added four steals in the effort. Guard Allie Messimer ’13 also chipped in with 12 points off the bench, while Cashen totaled 10 points and five boards.
Columbia guard Melissa Shafter came in off the bench to lead the Lions with 14 points and six assists. Kathleen Barry and Brianna Olrich also contributed with 12 and 13 points, respectively. Barry also added eight boards for Columbia.
The game began with both teams trading baskets over the first five minutes of play. The Bulldogs briefly took the lead after a layup from Gobrecht put them up 8–7 at the 16:42 mark, but the Lions responded with a 10–2 run that gave them a 17–10 advantage with 12:38 left in the half.
Still, Yale’s defense got the Bulldogs back in the game, holding Columbia scoreless over six minutes while scoring 12 unanswered points to take a 29–22 edge with 4:28 left in the half.
But the Lions erased the deficit by outscoring the Elis 13–3 over the final minutes of the half to take a 35–32 lead into the locker room.
Columbia stayed in control of the game in the second half, using an 11–3 run to take a 46–35 lead with 13:56 left on the clock.
“We just didn’t get it done on the defensive end like we usually do,” Greenfield said. “They just got a lot of open shots, and they were hitting them, and we weren’t hitting our shots in the paint.”
The Bulldogs pulled within four points six minutes later after scoring six consecutive points, capped by a three-pointer from Messimer, but the Lions crushed the Elis’ hopes of a comeback with an 11–2 run to go up 63–50 with 1:46 remaining. After that, Yale could not overcome the deficit, and Columbia was able to pull away with its third straight victory.
The Bulldogs return home this weekend to host first-place Harvard on Friday and Dartmouth on Saturday. Tip-off for both games is slated for 7 p.m. at John J. Lee Amphitheater.