The women’s basketball team closed out its 2000-01 campaign with a weekend symbolic of its entire season.
The Bulldogs (9-18, 4-10 Ivy) went to Princeton March 2 (1-24, 1-13) and defeated its host 67-63, but suffered yet another heartbreaking defeat the following night, losing 73-70 to Pennsylvania (21-5, 14-0) at the Palestra.
“Despite another three-point loss, I thought the team played very well,” head coach Amy Backus said. “We rallied back against a tough, energized Princeton team, and we executed our game plan as we wanted to against Penn.”
Against Princeton, Yale avenged an earlier overtime loss to the Tigers, coming back from an eight-point deficit with only six minutes remaining. And the following night Yale pushed the Quakers, who finished the regular season with the longest winning streak in Division I, to the limit before falling victim to another come-from-behind win.
The Princeton rematch began as closely as the two teams’ previous contest, as the lead changed hands seven times in the first half. Yale shot 48 percent from the floor and out-rebounded the Tigers 21-12 in the opening period, but could not manage to open up a significant lead and only owned a three-point advantage at halftime.
Yale increased its small lead in the beginning of the second half, but Princeton fought its way back into the game and wrested the lead from the Bulldogs with 10 minutes left in the game. And after Yale went scoreless for the next five minutes, the Tigers built an eight-point lead.
“Even though we were behind, we were pretty focused,” Backus said. “It was a matter of pride — not to be the only team to lose to Princeton.”
After the six-minute mark, center Lily Glick ’01 scored nine of Yale’s next 17 points, going seven for eight at the free throw line, to get the Bulldogs back in the game. And with three minutes remaining, a jump-shot from captain Alyson Miller ’01 put Yale in the lead to stay.
Yale was led by a career-high 23 points from Glick and 13 points from forward Helene Schutrumpf ’03.
The following night, Penn turned the tables on the Bulldogs, pulling off its second comeback victory over Yale this season.
The Quakers entered the contest with a 19-game winning streak, but the Bulldogs did not appear to be intimidated as they used 46 percent shooting from the floor to open up a five-point lead by halftime.
Yale continued its strong play in the beginning of the second half and even stretched its lead to nine over this year’s Ivy League champions with 11 minutes to go in the game.
Yale’s prospects looked even better when the squad found a way to keep the ball out of reigning Ivy Player of the Year Diana Caramanico’s hands. Caramanico, who scored 29 points in the first 30 minutes on the game, was limited to two free throws after the Bulldogs switched to a box-and-one defense with 10 minutes remaining.
But as they had managed to do throughout their undefeated Ivy season, the Quakers found a way to get back in the game and finished with a 73-70 win.
Schutrumpf’s 23 points led the Eli scoring attack, followed by Glick’s 13.
“It was pretty disheartening to see Penn pull ahead with 2:15 remaining when we thought we were on our way to winning,” Backus said. “We played well enough to win, but we never built enough of a lead to account for the few mistakes we made at the end of the game.”
The Pennsylvania loss, which encapsulated the Bulldogs’ season, was Yale’s sixth overtime loss or loss by three points or fewer this season.
The Elis finished the season in seventh place in the Ivy League.
“I’m really excited about what we’ll be capable of doing next year,” Backus said. “I think now the players appreciate what it takes to win close games. — We’re losing two players in the front court, but we’ll make up for it with a lot of experience in the back court.”