While the third time was not the charm, the women’s basketball team did not wait much longer for its first victory of the season.
After opening the winter with three straight road losses, Yale returned home Saturday and responded with a resounding 74-49 victory over Lafayette.
The Bulldogs lost both games in the Vermont Tip-Off Tournament last weekend: a 71-68 squeaker to the University of Vermont and a 77-69 loss to Navy in the consolation game.
Then on Tuesday, the University of Albany beat the Elis 88-76.
But against Lafayette, Yale refused to be denied. Morgan Richards ’05 led the Bulldogs with 17 points, and Tory Mauseth ’05 chipped in 15.
“We were sick of losing,” Mauseth said. “We learned from our mistakes. We had to come out tough and play well with the lead. Once we got ahead, we weren’t going to let go.”
Captain Maria Smear ’03 said the Bulldogs controlled the game.
“We kept the tempo going, and they weren’t as deep as we were, so we were able to pull away in the second half,” Smear said.
Against Albany, the Bulldogs got off to a sluggish start and a 51-point second half was not enough to dig themselves out of an early hole.
Yale shot 39.3 percent in the first half and went into the locker room behind 39-25. Bonnie Smith ’04 had 20 points while Mauseth and Smear each added 15.
“We should have beaten Albany — we beat them last year,” Mauseth said. “We didn’t start off the game the right way. We were too comfortable and relaxed.”
In the Vermont Tournament, the Bulldogs fell just short in both games. In the opener, the host Catamounts, who made the quarterfinals of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament last year, outrebounded Yale 48-37, and Mauseth’s 15 points were not enough.
“We played Vermont so close,” Mauseth said. “We just had a couple of breakdowns on defense, little tiny letdowns that led to them scoring a couple more baskets than us. We can’t have those lapses.”
Against Navy, Lindsay Page ’05 scored 23 points on 10-14 shooting, but again that could not push the Bulldogs over the top.
“They were really physical underneath,” Mauseth said. “We’re still trying to work on balancing our inside and outside games, and it’s really important that we can shut down bigger players.”
Tuesday, when Quinnipiac University visits the John J. Lee Amphitheater, the Bulldogs look to build on their recent success.
But the memory of those first three defeats remains sharp in the Bulldogs’ minds.
“We need to keep the intensity up every single game and never slack off or be satisfied with our last performance,” Mauseth said. “We need to learn from our mistakes and reduce the number of errors so we can improve and build.”