Fresh off its first Ivy League victory of the season, the women’s basketball team will head to Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend with hopes of duplicating its last performance.
Yale, (6-15, 1-7 Ivy) which defeated host Columbia 62-50 last Saturday, will take on the sixth-place Big Green (7-13, 3-4 Ivy) Friday, and then travel to Boston to battle the second-place Crimson (8-12, 5-2 Ivy) Saturday.
The Bulldogs fell 55-51 to Dartmouth earlier in the season, despite a second half comeback, and lost 54-40 to Harvard the first time around as well. But Yale seems to be a different team at this stage of the season, since it finally put together a solid 40-minute effort in their road win over Columbia.
“It was great to finally get that first [Ivy] win under our belts,” senior center Lily Glick said. “We had lost a lot of close games, and it was becoming pretty frustrating.”
One of those close losses came at the hands of the Big Green one month ago. Yale trailed 32-18 at halftime, but staged a late comeback in the second half only to come up several points short.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well at all in the first half [of the loss to Dartmouth],” head coach Amy Backus said. “But since then, we’ve improved a lot in that area.”
One of the keys to victory for the Bulldogs will be to shut down Dartmouth center Katherine Hanks. Hanks is the reigning Ivy League rookie of the year and has recorded seven double-doubles this season. Hanks and teammate Sherryta Freeman combined for 37 points and 15 rebounds last time the two teams met.
Dartmouth has also won six of its last eight games, but did lose to Columbia a week ago.
Similarly, Harvard appears to be hitting its stride at this point of the season. The Cantabs have won seven of their last nine games, and they shut down Yale pretty thoroughly earlier in the season. Harvard limited Yale to 15 first half points and 19 percent shooting from the floor. The Crimson is led by two freshmen, forward Hana Pelto and guard Tricia Turbidy, who have each been named Ivy League rookie of the week.
Yale will need better first halves on the road this weekend in order to win.
“Harvard and Dartmouth are very tough places to play,” Glick said. “But sometimes we perform better away from home, so we’re looking to get two wins out this weekend.”
The Bulldogs will need the same type of consistent effort they had in Saturday’s win. One problem that had plagued the team earlier in the season was its turnover ratio. But the Elis solved their turnover problem against Columbia, committing 16 compared to the Lions’ 25, which proved to be one of the keys to the victory.
The team won’t be making many changes this week since it hopes to get the same type of result.
“We’ll be sticking with the same game plan we had at Columbia,” Backus said. “We feel good about the consistency of the starters. They’re beginning to work well together.”
If the Bulldogs are able to play the same way they did against Columbia, they have a good chance in this tough road weekend.
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