WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Last homestand for Bulldogs

The women’s basketball team will be facing the top dogs in the Ivy League this weekend, suiting up against Princeton on Friday night and Penn on Saturday night.

“We’re excited we get to play the conference leaders down the stretch,” said head coach Chris Gobrecht. “We want to beat those guys and have an effect on the race, and know that we’re there, know that we’re right where we need to be.”

Yale (12–12, 6–4 Ivy) currently sits in fourth place in the Ancient Eight behind defending champion and current leader Princeton (17–6, 8–1), Penn (17–6, 7–2) and Harvard (17–7, 7–3).

This will be the second time that the Elis are facing each team. Last time around, the Tigers defeated the Bulldogs 96–75 on Feb. 15, and the Quakers defeated Yale 60–52 on Feb. 14.

“We definitely know the second time around exactly what to expect,” said guard Sarah Halejian ’15. “I think the fact that we did not play particularly well in either of those games is good to keep in mind because it gives us confidence that we can get a sweep next weekend if we play the way we are capable of playing.”

The Bulldogs are coming off a home sweep of Cornell and Columbia last weekend. The Tigers also went 2–0 last weekend, defeating Dartmouth and Harvard. The Quakers are looking to start a new winning streak after losing to Dartmouth last weekend.

The Elis have a tough task ahead of them as they attempt to defeat Princeton, which has not lost since a Jan. 31 slipup against Harvard. The Bulldogs are averaging 66.8 points per game, which is nearly nine points lower than the Tigers’ average of 75.4 points per game. Yale is shooting 38.4 percent from the field and 34.0 percent from behind the arc compared to Princeton, which is averaging 48.1 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from three-point range. Both teams will try to control the paint, where the Elis are grabbing 39.1 rebounds per game and the Tigers are pulling down 42.0 rebounds a game.

Yale will need to look out for guard Blake Dietrick, who leads all Princeton scorers with 15.2 points per game. Forward Kristen Helmstetter, guard Michelle Miller and forward Alex Wheatley are also scoring in double figures for the Tigers.

The contest against Penn will also be competitive, as the Quakers are averaging 65.1 points per game; just below Yale’s season average. Penn, however, is allowing only 56.7 points per game on 34.2 percent shooting by its opponents, a figure that is fourth best in the nation. The Quakers are shooting 40.3 percent from the field, 30.8 percent from downtown and grabbing 40.4 rebounds per game.

The Bulldogs will need to contain guard Alyssa Baron, who is currently averaging 15.2 points per game. They will also need to account for center Sydney Stipanovich and forward Kara Bonenberger, who are scoring 11.5 and 10.5 points per game, respectively.

“Both Penn and Princeton have talented post players and it will be important for our posts to step up to the challenge, which they are definitely capable of doing,” Halejian said. “Our defense will be critical to beating Princeton and limiting their multiple scoring threats. Against Penn, we will need to break down their zone defense better this time around if we want to have a chance to win.”

The Bulldogs tip off against Princeton and Penn at the John J. Lee Amphitheater on Friday and Saturday night, respectively, with both games beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Yale will honor its seniors — captain and guard Janna Graf ’14, center Zenab Keita ’14, forward Alexandra Osborn-Jones ’14 and guard Amanda Tyson ’14 — on Saturday night before the team’s last home game of the season.

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