WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Yale fights for .500

The women’s basketball team enters its final weekend looking to close its season out on a high note against Harvard and Dartmouth on the road.

Yale (12–14, 6–6 Ivy) has an opportunity to finish its overall season at 0.500 and conference play with a winning record with wins this weekend. The Bulldogs are searching for their fifth straight top-four finish in the conference, and they have the opportunity to play spoiler in Harvard’s quest to finish at the top of the conference.

The Elis had a tough weekend against the top two teams in the conference last weekend, falling to Princeton 85–63 and Penn 62–48.

“We need to play better, and I would not want this team to have to finish the year on this kind of a note,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said following the team’s losses last weekend. “I hope we get it together for [this] weekend.”

Looking to rebound from a pair of home losses, the Elis travel to Cambridge on Friday night to face Harvard (19–7, 9–3). The Cantabs have won the two teams’ last nine meetings, but Yale nearly came away with a win last time around, losing a narrow contest 58–57 on Feb. 8.

The Bulldogs will be facing a Harvard team that is riding a two-game winning streak following victories at Cornell and Columbia. The Elis will need to match the Crimson offense, which is currently the second-highest scoring offense in the Ivy League. Harvard is averaging 71.4 points per game, compared to the 65.9 points that Yale puts up each night. The difference can also be seen in their field goal percentages, with the Crimson shooting 42.6 percent to Yale’s 37.7. Both teams shoot well from behind the arc, with the Bulldogs averaging 34.3 percent from downtown against Harvard’s 34.0 percent. Yale lags behind Harvard in number of rebounds per game, 38.5 to 43.4.

The Elis will need to watch out for Crimson forward Temi Fagbenle, who is the current Ivy League Player of the Week after averaging 21.5 points and 12.5 rebounds last weekend. Guard Christine Clark, the leading scorer in the Ivy League, will be another key contributor for Harvard.

The Bulldogs will then travel to Dartmouth (5–21, 2–10) on Saturday night for the final game of their season. The Big Green is looking to crawl its way out of last place in the Ivy League, although Yale dominated the last meeting between the two teams, winning 86–52 on Feb. 7.

Dartmouth, however, has been the only Ivy League team besides Princeton to defeat Penn, with a 53–50 win two weeks ago. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, lost 62–48 to the Quakers lasts weekend on Senior Night.

Yale looks to have the advantage across the board, as Dartmouth averages 57.1 points per game, a 28.6 shooting percentage from behind the arc and 32.0 rebounds per game. The Big Green, however, does shoot 39.2 percent from the field, which is slightly higher than the Elis’ shooting percentage.

The Bulldogs will need to watch for guard and forward Fanni Szabo, who leads Dartmouth with 13.4 points per game.

The Elis will be led by guard Sarah Halejian ’15, who is averaging 15.9 points per game, and they will be bolstered by forward Meredith Boardman ’16 in the paint, where she is averaging 5.8 rebounds per game.

“We hope to finish out the year strong against Harvard and Dartmouth,” Halejian said.

Yale will tip off against Harvard on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. before heading north to Dartmouth for the season finale on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.

Comments