WOMEN’S BASKETBALL | Elis kick off Ivy season

The Bulldogs have been a threat from beyond the arc all season, averaging 8.4 3-pointers per game.
The Bulldogs have been a threat from beyond the arc all season, averaging 8.4 3-pointers per game. Photo by Maria Zepeda.

Having defeated both Bucknell and Bryant in the past week, the women’s basketball team will look to continue its winning ways when the Bulldogs open their Ivy League season against Brown on Saturday.

The Elis (5–9, 0–0 Ivy) have prepared for conference play by competing against tough non-Ivy opponents. After losing six of their first seven games to start the season, the Bulldogs have settled in, winning four of their last seven to gain momentum going into league play. In the last two games, the team has an average of 80 points per game compared to a season average of 67.3.

“We have improved in our ability to push the ball in transition and forcing turnovers,” center Zenab Keita ’14 said. “Doing those things as well as the other essentials, like rebounding and taking charges consistently, night in and night out, will ensure us the top spot in the Ivy League.”

Point guard Sarah Halejian ’15 and guard Janna Graf ’14 have led the Bulldog offense so far, averaging 13.4 and 12.3 points per game, respectively. The Elis have been a threat from beyond the arc all season, averaging 8.4 3-pointers per game. Graf leads the team with 33 3-pointers made, and five Bulldogs are shooting 40 percent or better from long range.

This type of balanced attack has been a key for the Elis this season. Of the team’s 10 eligible players, eight have scored in double digits in at least one game so far this season.

“Our depth is very important as we begin Ivy play because the entire Ivy season is one large conference tournament where every game matters,” guard Amanda Tyson ’14 said. “Every player on the team is always a threat because you can never be sure who will have the hot hand that night, and that’s huge to defending us.”

The Elis are coming off a 78–65 win over Bryant on Wednesday, in which Tyson had a career night with 16 points. Halejian has had 15 points in each of the last two games for the Bulldogs, while Graf has contributed 26 total points of her own in the team’s last two wins.

The Bulldogs split their two games against the Bears last season with a 75–65 win and 60–55 loss. Yale finished third, one spot above the Bears in the final league standings last year. With the return of Brown’s leading scorer from last season, senior guard Sheila Dixon, the two teams will be competitive with each other once again.

Brown (6–8, 0–0 Ivy) also has momentum entering Saturday’s matchup after beating New Jersey Institute of Technology on Tuesday.

“Over the last few weeks, we have been working on our game and our identity rather than focusing on a particular opponent, because we ultimately know that if we play our game, we will be successful,” Tyson said.

The two teams will tip off at 4 p.m. in the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

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