WOMEN’S BASKETBALL | Yale takes on Columbia and Cornell

The Bulldogs will travel to Ithaca on Friday in hopes of extending a seven-game winning streak against the Cornell Big Red.
The Bulldogs will travel to Ithaca on Friday in hopes of extending a seven-game winning streak against the Cornell Big Red. Photo by Maria Zepeda.

After a tough loss to first-place Princeton on Sunday, the women’s basketball team heads to New York this weekend to take on Columbia and Cornell as the Elis kick off the second half of their conference schedule.

The Bulldogs (7-13, 2-4 Ivy) will travel to Ithaca tonight in hope of extending a seven-game win streak against the Big Red. Cornell (10-9, 2-3 Ivy) enters the game on the heels of a 60-69 overtime loss to Harvard last Sunday. Having played one fewer game than the Elis due to the postponement of last weekend’s Dartmouth game, the Big Red sits in fifth place in the Ivy league, one spot above the Bulldogs.

On Saturday, the Elis will head to Manhattan to face Columbia. The Lions (2-17, 0-5 Ivy), who are still searching for their first conference win, beat the Bulldogs last year at Levien Gymnasium, 56-52.

“Both of the teams this weekend are very physical and work extremely hard,” captain Allie Messimer ’13 said. “This week has mostly been about preparing for the scrappiness of each team and being ready to crash the boards hard.”

Yale enters the weekend of play after a split at home against Penn and Princeton. The loss to the undefeated Tigers came on Sunday, and the team hopes to get back on track for the last eight games of the season.

“We have focused more on just going out and having the best experience we can,” guard Sarah Halejian ’15 said. “We have gotten away from really having fun playing the game, which is necessary if we want to accomplish the task at hand as a collective group.”

Through the first six matchups of their 14-game conference schedule, the Bulldogs have established themselves as a strong 3-point shooting team. They lead the league in three-pointers made and are second behind Harvard in 3-point percentage.

Forward Janna Graf ’14 leads the Elis from behind the arc and is currently second in the Ivy League in 3-pointers made and third in percentage. Halejian is sixth in the league in scoring, leading the Elis with 13.6 points per game.

“I think the Ivy League has taught us that we are a team with a lot of skill,” Messimer said. “However it has also taught us that this skill does not mean much if we are not working together as a team defensively and offensively. I think moving forward we just need to keep both of these facts in the front of our minds.”

Friday’s game between the Bulldogs and the Big Red is set to tip off at 7:00 p.m. inside Newman Arena in Ithaca. The Elis will take on Columbia in another 7:00 p.m. game on Saturday.

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