WOMEN’S BASKETBALL | Bulldogs to fight off the Cougars

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Photo by Maria Zepeda.

The Elis will return to Payne Whitney this weekend aiming to notch their first victory of the season and revive last year’s win against the University of Houston.

The Yale women’s basketball team will take on the Cougars (0–2) at home, coming off two losses to Holy Cross and New Hampshire. The Bulldogs (0–2) are looking for a win on Saturday to kick off their three-game series over Thanksgiving break.

“Moving into this weekend, we need to continue to improve defensively and really focus on our rebounding efforts. As long as we continue to work together, things will begin to fall into place more and more,” captain and guard Allie Messimer ’13 said.

Yale took on Houston last year and came away with an 80–62 victory. This season, the Bulldogs are struggling to find an offensive edge, only posting an overall .333 field goal percentage.

“I think the team dynamic this year is the best it’s been since I have been here … The most exciting thing is the amount of respect that everyone has for each other on and off the court,” Messimer said.

Yale’s four freshmen have also been forced to contribute early on. They’ve seen a combined 128 minutes of playing time and have appeared in both of the opening games of the season.

“We are a young team, so we have to get our groove on the court, but that will come as we play more together,” Messimer said. She added that executing on box outs and crashing the boards should be a focus for the team in upcoming games.

Center Zenab Keita ’14 and forward Janna Graf ’14 are currently leading the team in rebounding with 12 apiece. Yale lost some presence in the paint with center Arrice Bryant ’15 and forward Alexandra Osborn-Jones ’14 both out due to injury.

“Our two freshmen have held their ground for us in the post. I’ve also had to toughen up and play smarter to avoid foul trouble,” Keita said.

With a veteran team stacked with juniors and seniors, Houston will be traveling to New Haven looking to redeem their recent losses to Mississippi State and Alabama last week. Senior Porsche Landry and freshman Jessieka Palmer are the Cougars’ leading scorers, each contributing 29 points each in their past two games.

The Bulldogs are currently amidst non-conference play and will not see their first Ivy League matchup until January.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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