WOMEN’S BASKETBALL | Halejian’s career night carries Elis to win

Guard Megan Vasquez ’13 scored seven points in the Elis’ convincing 59–47 victory in a rematch against Brown.
Guard Megan Vasquez ’13 scored seven points in the Elis’ convincing 59–47 victory in a rematch against Brown. Photo by Maria Zepeda.

The women’s basketball team traveled to Providence for a rematch with the Brown Bears on Saturday, and a career-high performance from guard Sarah Halejian ’15 propelled the Elis to a 59–41 victory.

The Bulldogs (6–10, 1–1 Ivy) were looking for a win against Brown (7–9, 1–1 Ivy) after a close one-point loss to the Bears last week in both teams’ conference-opener. Halejian led the team in scoring with 14 in the first matchup against Brown and was a driving force for the team on Saturday. The sophomore guard posted her first career double-double, with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

“I was more aggressive attacking the hoop instead of settling for outside shots,” Halejian said. “I also took less shots than I did in the last game, which forced me to focus on making each one really count.”

The Bulldogs were slow to start on Saturday, making only five of their first 20 shots, including a five and a half minute stretch without a point, and Brown bounced back from an early 12–6 deficit to take a 15–12 lead with 8:30 left in the first half. The Elis shot only 1–10 from the 3-point line in the first half, forcing the team to rely heavily on its inside shooters.

The Elis managed 30 points in the paint by the end of the game, and guards Amanda Tyson ’14 and Janna Graf ’14 each put up 8 points in support of Halejian’s 21-point performance.

After struggling with their defensive effort in the last matchup with Brown, the Bulldogs were looking to make some effective stops this time around.

“I think we redeemed our loss. We still didn’t play a great game, but we played a lot smarter,” captain Allie Messimer ’13 said. “Allowing them to score 20 more points the first game really hurt us.”

Going into halftime with only a six-point lead at 26–20, the Bulldogs kicked their defensive efforts into gear for the second period. Brown made a 7–0 run early in the second half to cut Yale’s lead to three with 16 minutes left. But the Eli defense clamped down, holding the Bears to 30.8 percent shooting in the second half and shutting down Brown leading scorer Lauren Clarke. The junior forward scored only two points on 0–4 shooting while playing all 20 minutes of the second half.

Yale converted Brown’s 21 turnovers into 20 points over the entire game and had 11 steals, sealing Brown’s fate and holding the Bears to just 11 points in the last 13 minutes of the game.

“We took to heart what our coaches told us about our defensive game last time and executed it the second time around,” Messimer said.

Halejian scored five points as part of a 10–0 Yale run with six minutes left to play that ended Brown’s hopes of a comeback.

The Bulldogs will continue conference play as they face both Harvard and Dartmouth on Friday and Saturday.

“Every game means a lot to all of us,” Messimer said. “We know that this is it. We love this sport and want to win.”

The Bulldogs will take on Harvard this Friday in Payne Whitney at 7 p.m.

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