Saturday marked the dawning of a new season for the women’s basketball team in more than one way.
Yale opened Ivy League play against Brown with a chance to redeem itself after a disheartening nonconference season. But after Friday’s tragic car accident, the Bulldogs now have a new perspective with which they will attack the remaining games on their schedule.
Unfortunately for the slumping Elis (3-11, 0-1 Ivy), their performance against Brown (7-7, 1-0) was more reminiscent of the very play they were trying to leave behind, as the Bears pulled out an 84-77 victory.
But despite the loss, the Elis found meaning in their renewed on-court determination.
“Everyone played every single minute and possession of the game with new meaning,” Lindsay Page ’05 said. “As a team, we were depending on each other a lot more. We went in with the outlook that who knows what will happen, but we have this game now. We can control our destiny now.”
Prior to the game, Athletics Director Tom Beckett read a statement announcing the death of Nicholas Grass ’05.
“There was a lot at stake,” Page said. “It was very emotional. During the moment of silence, it really hit home that we were playing the game in honor of the young men who had died.”
During Friday afternoon’s practice, the team decided to go ahead with the game and use it to pay its respects to those involved in the accident.
“A lot of us were friends with the guys,” Tory Mauseth ’05 said. “It definitely hit us pretty hard. It totally puts things in perspective. We’re so blessed to be able to play. That’s the attitude we took to play with more intensity than before because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead and held it for the majority of the first half, but a Brown spurt turned a six-point lead into a 10-point halftime deficit for Yale.
In the second half, the Bulldogs turned to a 1-3-1 half-court trap at times to try to change the momentum and force a couple of quick turnovers, but Brown’s shooters were able to hit from the outside and maintain the lead.
“We lost the game at the end of the first half,” Page said. “We stopped rebounding well and playing defense well, and Brown increased the pressure and forced a couple of turnovers.”
Team captain Maria Smear ’03 returned to her normal role in the rotation. Smear was limited to eight minutes against Sacred Heart last Tuesday after missing the previous five games.
Brynn Gingras ’04, the team’s starting point guard, returned from an ankle sprain and gave the Bulldogs critical minutes both running the team’s offense and spearheading the trapping defense by running sideline to sideline to pressure the ball.
“Having the steadying force of Maria with her experience and consistency helped a lot,” Page said. “And Brynn especially is a major tempo-setter. Just to have that to rely on was a major factor.”
Tanara Golston poured in 18 points and 10 assists for the Bears and earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors for her efforts. Bonnie Smith ’04 led the Elis with 24 points and is quickly becoming the team’s most dangerous offensive weapon.
“Bonnie just plays so hard,” Mauseth said. “Her shot is back on, and she crashes the boards hard and gets putbacks. She’s been getting a lot of hustle points and that has been helping us out.”
The Bulldogs have a chance to avenge their Ivy League loss when they travel to Brown Saturday.