The women’s basketball team (1-2) faces Central Connecticut State University (0-2) at 8 p.m. tonight in the second game of a Yale varsity basketball doubleheader.
The Bulldogs are coming off an impressive 81-69 win against Bowling Green in the Coors Classic, while Central Connecticut enters tonight’s game with eight days rest after falling to Northwestern 96-70 on Nov. 20.
“The team is definitely coming into [tonight’s game] with good confidence,” head coach Amy Backus said. “We’ve been playing well in practice, and we put two good games together.”
Although Central Connecticut boasts a tall frontcourt, its inside game is not as developed as its perimeter shooting. The Bulldogs’ forward line should be able to keep the 6-2 freshman Elina Kalnina and her classmate, the 6-5 Natalie Hunte, at bay. Led by captain Meg Simpson ’02, the Bulldogs have a plus 7.3 rebounding margin against opponents this year. Simpson, who set a record at the Coors Classic for most rebounds in the tournament, is averaging a team-leading 11 boards per game.
One of Yale’s primary concerns will be Central Connecticut senior Tara Loller. Loller was the Blue Devil’s leading scorer against Northwestern with 22 points.
Helene Schutrumpf ’03, who leads the Bulldogs in scoring with 13.7 points per game, will once again have to help her team compensate for the injured Maria Smear ’03, last season’s leading scorer. Behind the sharp shooting of Schutrumpf, Brynn Gingras ’04 and Tory Mauseth ’05 the team is hitting more than five 3-pointers a game. The Bulldogs will want to use their prowess from behind the arc as well as execute their up-tempo motion offense against the Blue Devils.
The Elis, who fell to Central Connecticut 59-54 last year, will need to cut down on turnovers against the Blue Devils. In the team’s first three contests, Yale is averaging 19.7 turnovers per game.
“Obviously that’s an area of concern,” Backus said. “Some [turnovers] are just coming from not being focused. They’re not all just coming from being under pressure [and] the point guard losing the ball. With better focus we should be all right.”
Central Connecticut, however, is also turnover-prone, coughing up the ball 19 times in the first half against Northwestern.
“We’ve always been very evenly matched,” Backus said. “We certainly expect the same tough defensive play from the them this year.”
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