WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Bulldogs return home

The women’s basketball team will look to halt its three-game skid against Cornell and Columbia at home this weekend.

“We’re looking to get some serious revenge on Cornell on Friday night by just playing our game and playing a little smarter than we did last time,” said guard Whitney Wyckoff ’16. “We beat Columbia pretty soundly the first time around, but we can’t let that cause us to lose any focus or intensity when we play them Saturday.”

Yale (10–12, 4–4 Ivy) is poised to avenge its loss against Cornell (12–10, 4–4) from earlier this season in Ithaca. The Big Red defeated the Bulldogs on Feb. 1 65–56, the Elis’ the first conference loss of the season. Prior to the loss, Yale had won its eight previous games against Cornell.

Statistically, Yale looks to be the team with the advantage. Prior to this weekend’s contest, the Bulldogs are averaging 66.8 points per game compared to the Big Red’s 64.5 points a game. Of late, Yale has minimized its turnovers, limiting itself to 15.3 a game, whereas Cornell averages 16.4 turnovers each contest. The Elis will also look to control the boards, where they hold a 38.9–35.4 advantage in per game averages in comparison to Cornell.

The Big Red is coming off an 84–69 loss against Harvard last weekend and will be led by forward Allyson Dimagno, who is averaging a team high 13.7 points per game in addition to 8.6 rebounds a game. Fellow Big Red  Nia Marshall, who is also scoring in double figures at 12.8 points per game, will also be another player for the Bulldogs to look out for.

Following the game against Cornell, Yale will look to continue its success against Columbia (5–17, 2–6). The Bulldogs were triumphant against the Lions earlier in the season, defeating Columbia 76–51 on Jan. 31. The Lions will visit New Haven as part of a road trip. Last weekend, the squad lost to Harvard 99–64 and defeated Dartmouth 65–59, and will travel to Brown this Friday prior to facing the Elis.

The Bulldogs have won their last three games against the Lions dating back to last season. The Elis have performed at a higher level so far this season, as Columbia has managed only 60.1 points per game while turning the ball over 16.9 times each contest. The Bulldogs also have an advantage on the boards since the Lions pull down only 36.3 rebounds a game.

Columbia has only one player averaging points in double figures: forward Tori Oliver, who is scoring 10.2 points per game. Forward Courtney Bradford adds a team high 6.0 rebounds a game for the Lions.

“Our goals for this weekend are to come out really strong from the very beginning of both games, to play really good and tough defense against both Cornell and Columbia, and to execute our offense efficiently,” center Emmy Allen ’16 said.

Yale will rely on guard Sarah Halejian ’15 and captain and guard Janna Graf ’14, who score a combined 25.6 points per game, to carry the team this weekend. Meredith Boardman ’16 leads the team with 6.2 rebounds per game, and the Elis will look to the bench to contribute as well.

This Saturday, the Bulldogs will be partnering with the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven, the Yale Cancer Center and the “Closer to Free Fund” to host the team’s annual Pink Zone event, which raises breast health awareness.

“We are all really fired up for the Cornell game since they were able to beat us a few weeks ago, and Saturday will be a fun game as well since we get to play for a great cause in support of breast cancer research,” Halejian said. “We are just focusing on getting our confidence and team chemistry back up and we had a competitive week of practice that set us up to do just that.”

The Elis face Cornell on Friday and Columbia on Saturday at 7 p.m. both nights at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

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