If the women’s basketball team can duplicate its Monday night performance against Navy, the squad’s third Ivy contest against Brown (7-7, 2-0) tonight promises to be a true battle.
Yale (5-10, 0-2 Ivy) is riding high coming off its 81-58 drubbing of Navy, in which the Elis opened up a 38-point lead midway through the second half. But the squad will face a tough task in taking on Brown at the John J. Lee Amphitheater at 6 p.m. [WYBC-AM 1340]. The Bears have won their last three games, including wins over Harvard and Dartmouth, the two teams to which Yale lost last weekend.
Brown edged Harvard on two free throws with six seconds remaining for a 59-57 victory and dropped Dartmouth 63-54 the previous night one week ago.
The Yale team knows it will have its hands full and will have to play well to beat Brown.
“We’re going to have to play the kind of defense we’ve been playing to win,” head coach Amy Backus said. “And we’re going to need the offensive confidence we showed against Navy.”
Yale’s effort will be aided by the fact that Brown will be without its leading scorer Barbara Maloni — who was averaging 21 points a game — because of a foot injury.
Still, Brown has the Ivy League rookie of the week in Nyema Mitchell, who scored 18 points in her past two games including the final free throws to beat Harvard.
On the other side of the ball, the Yale offense, which had been struggling, has come on of late and will be looking to repeat its 81-point showing against Navy.
“It’s a matter of focus,” Backus said. “It’s a matter of the team realizing what it can do when it’s that focused.”
Against Navy, Yale had five players in double figure scoring and was led by Maria Smear ’03 and Bonnie Smith ’04, who each scored 12. Smear is currently ranked second in the Ivy League in three-pointers made and three-point shooting percentage.
Additionally, freshman Brynn Gingras will return from illness and likely back up senior Sara Perkins at point guard.
Even with all its players healthy, Yale is in for a battle against a team whose last two wins came against teams that defeated the Bulldogs.
“For us to do well this weekend we are going to need to play two halves of basketball,” Perkins said. “We were able to do that on Monday and that is why we won.”
Yale’s string of impressive play stretches beyond the Navy game and actually started during the second half of the Dartmouth loss. The Bulldogs outscored the Big Green 33-23 after halftime to set the ball rolling on the momentum the team carried into the Navy win. In the past three halves, Yale combined good defense with offensive production — a glimpse of the team’s full potential — and outscored its opponents 114-81.
After tonight’s contest, the Bulldogs don’t play again for another week when they face Brown in Providence. So Yale will have a while to think about its performance.
“We were all disappointed about the past weekend,” Perkins said. “But we plan to continue what we did for the Navy game to shut down Brown.”
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