WOMEN’S BASKETBALL | Bulldogs face Bears on road

Yale women’s basketball is looking for its first Ivy League title since 1979 and its first conference win this season.
Yale women’s basketball is looking for its first Ivy League title since 1979 and its first conference win this season. Photo by Maria Zepeda.

The women’s basketball team will continue conference play this weekend with a rematch against the Brown Bears, a team that bested them narrowly last Saturday night in John J. Lee Amphitheater.

The Bulldogs (5–10, 0–1 Ivy) are looking for their first Ivy League title since 1979 and their first conference win this season. Yale fell to Brown (7–8, 1–0 Ivy) in their past two matchups, including a close 68–67 loss last week.

“We added a few new strategies to our game, mainly defensively. However, none of these changes are major because we know that we just had an extremely off night on Saturday,” guard Sarah Halejian ’15 said. “If we are able to play at the high level we are capable of playing at, we should definitely win.”

The Elis hope to improve defensive efforts and free-throw shooting in the upcoming game against the Bears. Last weekend, the Bulldogs shot 10–19 from the line — a 52.6 percent average — and suffered from Brown’s quick transition offense.

“In the last game we struggled getting aggressive rotations on defense. We also fell into the trap of playing their slow half-court game when we need to push the ball,” team captain and guard Allie Messimer ’13 said.

Messimer said she hopes that the Bulldogs can focus on taking care of the boards. Forward Meredith Boardman ’16 is Yale’s leading rebounder with 5.1 rebounds per game, contributing to the team average of 35.9. Brown has a slight edge over the Bulldogs with 37.8 rebounds per game.

“We know last weekend was a learning experience. We’re lucky to have a deep bench, so everyone is a key player,” guard Megan Vasquez ’13 said.

The Bulldogs are currently ranked 11th in the nation for 3-point shooting, averaging 8.1 per game. They are also ranked third in the conference in scoring with 67.3 points per game. Last week, guards Halejian and Janna Graf ’14, who both average over 12 points per game, were appointed to the Ivy League’s women’s basketball honor roll.

Team members are optimistic about upcoming league play.

“Although we would have liked to have started out 1–0, we aren’t discouraged. We’re still confident that we are one of the top teams in the Ivy League and can compete with anyone,” Halejian said.

The Ivy League is the only Division I conference lacking a postseason tournament. Yale’s 14-game Ivy series is the final stretch of regular season play and the determinant of which team earns a bid in the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs will face both Harvard and Dartmouth in the coming week.

The team will take on Brown tonight at 6 p.m. at the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center in Providence, R.I.

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