WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Yale sweeps Brown

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Photo by Maria Zepeda.

The women’s basketball team defeated Brown at home for the first time in three years and swept the season series with a commanding 73–52 win at home on Friday, Jan. 24.

Yale (8–8, 2–0 Ivy) demolished Brown (6–10, 0–2) in its first home game since Dec. 17, 2013. The Bulldogs expected the Bears to come out strong, and the game looked to be tight in the opening minutes, with three ties and nine lead changes in the first eleven minutes of the contest.

“We knew that Brown was going to come out ready … to come out with their best game,” guard Lena Munzer ’17 said. “We knew that we had to match the energy right away.”

The Bears led 16–14 before a 9–0 run by the Bulldogs gave Yale a 23–16 lead with 6:46 remaining in the first half.

Brown was able to close to within two, trailing 23–21 with just over five minutes remaining, but a 17–2 run to close the half gave Yale a commanding 40–23 lead heading into the locker room.

“I thought we very much had the game at the pace that we wanted it at,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “We were pushing the ball up the floor and we were very energized defensively. That’s the way we want to play.”

The Bulldogs continued to attack throughout the second half, never giving the Bears a chance to get back into the game. The Elis began the second period on a 9–0 run, which extended the lead to 49–23. The Bears did not make a field goal until there were fewer than 15 minutes remaining in the game, a testament to the Bulldogs’ pressure defense.

Yale’s offense kept hitting shot after shot, and the lead reached 30 points with 8:25 to play. Brown made a push in the last four minutes of the game, but it was too little too late, making an indent only in the final score, 73–52.

“Sarah’s [Halejian ’15] energy, bringing the ball up the floor, was huge,” Gobrecht said. “Her energy defensively and Lena’s energy defensively … to get that much energy in the whole backcourt is huge, and I thought we didn’t give them any room to breathe, anything to get excited about.”

Even though Brown was able to convert its three point attempts, shooting 7–14 from three-point range, the Bears could not overcome the Elis’ shooting performance from the field. The Bulldogs shot a season-high 51.7 percent from the field, compared to the Bears’ 32.6 percent. Again, Yale was able to outrebound Brown 35–28, and the Elis took command of the paint, scoring 38 points in the key compared to the Bears’ eight.

The Bulldogs received another strong performance from the players on the bench, who outscored the Bears’ bench players 25–8. The Elis’ defense also pressured Brown into 22 turnovers, while Yale limited its mistakes to just 15 turnovers.

Munzer, starting for the second straight game, tied her season-high shooting performance with 14 points. Guard Sarah Halejian ’15 also contributed 14 points as well as five assists against the Bears. It was the first Ivy home game for the freshmen, and Munzer said that the team was excited and pumped up about playing.

Guards Sophie Bikofsky and Jordin Alexander, who each scored 12 points, led the way for Brown. Guard Lauren Clarke, the team’s leading scorer, managed only five points for the Bears after scoring 16 the weekend before.

In a pregame ceremony, both teams dedicated the game to the Chase Kowalski Fund in memory of those who were lost in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 12, 2012.

Yale will play back-to-back games on the road next weekend, facing Columbia on Friday and Cornell on Saturday. Columbia and Cornell split their home-and-home series, heading into next weekend with 1–1 conference records.

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