After three impressive outings over Thanksgiving break, the women’s basketball team continued its early season success in its home opener Wednesday night versus Central Connecticut State University.
In the second game of a Yale basketball doubleheader, the Bulldogs (2-2) routed the Blue Devils (0-3), 67-38.
“We came out with a lot of confidence,” head coach Amy Backus said. “It was a continuation of how good [the players] felt about their play over the weekend.”
The Elis came out gunning, rolling off 11 unanswered points and keeping Central Connecticut scoreless for the first 5:25. Central Connecticut would not come any closer than 11 points the rest of the game.
“Coach’s game plan is usually to score the first 10 points, and it was great that we could score the first 11,” Brynn Gingras ’04 said. “It got us thinking we could definitely beat this team.”
The Elis relied heavily on their defense to create easy points in transition. Yale’s full-court press caused many of the Blue Devils’ 30 turnovers.
“They’ve struggled all year with turnovers,” Backus said. “That’s why we wanted to keep up the pressure.”
Yale took a 21-point lead into halftime behind 10-point efforts from Helene Schutrumpf ’03 and Lindsay Page ’05. The pair led the Elis in scoring on the night with 13 and 14 points, respectively. Page, who came into last night’s game averaging 7.0 points per game, went five for five from the field and four for four from the free throw line.
In the first half, the Bulldogs shot 50 percent from the floor. Central Connecticut’s offensive woes translated into a 26.3 field-goal percentage.
The Bulldogs opened the second half sluggishly, going 4:12 without a field goal. A 3-pointer by Elina Kalnina brought the Blue Devils within 12 with just over 12 minutes to play. But Yale quickly regrouped and pushed the lead back up to 24 points six minutes later.
“We tried to dismiss the first half and I think we did an admirable job of scratching and scrambling to make it a 12-point game,” Central Connecticut head coach Kim Foley said. “But we used up all our energy [on that run.]”
Spurred on by two Gingras 3-pointers, the Elis took a commanding 32-point lead with 2:32 to play. When the final buzzer sounded, Yale walked off the court with a 29-point victory.
“We pushed the ball like we needed to do, and we executed the game plan,” Gingras said. “We didn’t let them come back.”
Foley, who said her team played “horribly,” was impressed by Yale’s strong showing.
“They just took the floor and believed they were going to get it done,” Foley said. “They ran right over us.”
Despite the decisive victory, the Bulldogs had 25 turnovers, which will not deflate their season average of 19.7 turnovers per game. Backus also said the team needs to work on its halfcourt offense and consistency.
“We played really well in spurts and not really well in other spurts,” Backus said. “With how many possessions we had, we didn’t score that many points. We need to turn that defensive energy into productivity on the offensive end.”
The Elis face another in-state rival Saturday when they take on the University of Hartford (1-4). Yale still has seven non-conference games before the opening of Ivy League action.
“Yale is a very good team,” Foley said. “I think they’ll have a lot of success in the Ivy League this year.”