WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Tough slate ahead for bulldogs

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Photo by Jennifer Cheung.

The women’s basketball team will host both Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend for a chance to claim sole possession of first place in the Ivy League.

Yale (9–9, 3–1 Ivy) has two tough games ahead of itself this weekend, as Dartmouth (3–15, 0–4) and Harvard (13–5, 3–1) travel to New Haven. The Elis are coming off a weekend in which the Bulldogs defeated Columbia 76–51 (4–14, 1–3) and lost to Cornell (11–7, 3–1) 65–56.

“The Cornell game was a tough loss for us,” said guard Lena Munzer ’17. “There’s definitely a lot to take away from it as we head into the week. I think we learned a lot about what it takes to play back-to-back games successfully.”

The team hopes to regain momentum against Dartmouth on Friday night, as it will face a Big Green squad that has yet to record a win in the conference following contests against Harvard, Penn and Princeton. The Big Green is currently averaging 57.2 points per game compared to Yale’s average of 66.8.

The Elis, one of the strongest teams from downtown in the Ivy League, feature a prolific three-point shooting team, converting 34.0 percent of their three-point attempts, whereas Dartmouth makes just 28.7 percent of its shots from beyond the arc. From the field, both teams are shooting at a 38.5 percent clip, although Yale has improved during conference play to 44.3 percent. The Bulldogs will look to take advantage of Dartmouth’s mistakes this weekend, as the Big Green average 17.3 turnovers a game compared to the Elis’ 16.2.

Dartmouth features freshman standout, guard Fanni Szabo, who is leading the Big Green with 15.5 points per game, as well as 33.3 minutes played per game. Yale will also look to keep Dartmouth, led by forward Lakin Roland’s 5.8 rebounds per game, off the boards. The Elis currently average 39.3 rebounds per game, compared to Dartmouth’s 33.6.

The two teams split last season’s series, with each team winning on the road.

Following the game against Dartmouth, the Bulldogs will have a quick turnaround and face Harvard on Saturday. The Elis are looking to defeat the Crimson for the first time since 2012. Harvard has won the last three meetings between the two teams.

Both Yale and Harvard are currently in a three-way tie with Cornell for first place in the Ivy League. The Crimson has faced Dartmouth, Princeton, and Penn (12–5, 2–1) so far this season, suffering its only loss at the hands of the Quakers.

The Elis have a tough defensive task ahead of them against Harvard, who is averaging 70.9 points per game, although that number has dipped to 66.5 points per game in conference play. The Crimson are shooting 42.0 percent from the field and 33.8 percent from beyond the arc so far this season, although both have declined within the past four games.

Although the Elis are prolific rebounders, the Crimson have been equally dominant on the boards, averaging 43.2 rebounds per game.

Harvard is led by three players currently scoring in double figures. Guard Christine Clark, forward Temi Fagbenle, and forward Erin McDonnell are scoring 16.5, 12.9 and 10.2 points per game, respectively. Fagbenle is also the team’s leading rebounder, collecting 9.6 boards per game.

Guard Sarah Halejian ’15 leads the Elis with 14.9 points per game, and the Bulldogs’ bench will try to continue its strong contributions, averaging 26.3 points per game during Ivy League play.

“We will be playing even better teams next weekend, so we need to have a really focused week of practice,” Halejian said. “We all need to compete and push each other in order to be ready for the quality teams we are going to face.”

Yale faces Dartmouth and Harvard at home at 7:00 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.

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