Fighting to conquer its inconsistency, the women’s basketball team beat Lafayette, 57-43, Jan. 5, only to fall, 90-50, to George Washington two days later.
In both games, Yale (2-10) had moments of brilliance marred by bouts of mistakes. Against the Leopards, Yale sprinted out to a 30-14 lead at halftime. However, more accurate Lafayette shooting and costly Bulldog turnovers in the second half helped the Leopards claw their way back into the game, as they outscored Yale 29-27 in the final period.
Turnovers posed a significant obstacle for the Bulldogs against George Washington as well. Yale lost the ball 24 times compared to George Washington’s nine. The Colonials also managed to rack up 19 steals and hold the Bulldogs’ field goal percentage to 35.8 percent. The Elis seemed to hit their stride in the closing minutes of the game, when they notched up their defensive intensity and kept the Colonials scoreless in the final 6:07.
According to guard Chinenye Okafor ’07, who had eight points in the game on 4-for-7 shooting, the team had one of its weakest performances, although she acknowledged that GW had a very athletic squad.
“I expected to win the game,” she said. “When we play to our potential, we can win any game.”
She cited a lack of team confidence early on as one of the reasons GW was able to put the game out of Yale’s reach.
“Our coach stressed to the team how good GW was before the game,” she said. “That might have affected some people.”
Okafor also singled out turnovers as an area needing improvement.
“We need to minimize turnovers,” she said. “We’d turn the ball over [against George Washington], and they’d get an easy lay-up off of it.”
Center Erica Davis ’07, who is the team leader in scoring with 13.8 points per game and in rebounding with 7.5 rebounds per game, said she agreed with Okafor’s assessment of the team.
“Sadly, it’s a common theme,” she said about the team’s inability to get out of the blocks. “We’ve started out a lot of games on the tentative side.”
Over the season, opponents have outscored Yale 402-294 in the first half. In the second half, the margin is a trimmer 426-386.
The match-up against the Colonials was the fifth game the Elis had played in 10 days. Coming near the tail-end of Yale’s non-conference tour, the game in Washington, D.C. took an eight-hour bus ride to reach. Davis speculated that the rigorous schedule may have hurt the team’s performance.
“We weren’t ourselves,” she said. “It was a really long road, and we didn’t play as hard as usual.”
Davis said that team defense was lacking in the loss.
“Our defense keeps us in the game before our scoring gets going,” she said. “It was missing versus GW — we weren’t putting in high-caliber defense.”
Okafor added that the team was not able to recover from the big, early deficit against the Colonials.
“Whenever we got down, our play got scattered,” Okafor said, summarizing the Elis’ performance.
In the Lafayette game, Davis said the Elis came together, even if fleetingly.
“Our good moments were almost too good to last,” she said. “We go out of the zone too often.”
According to Davis, the Bulldogs are unstoppable once they reach their elusive “zone,” but those moments seem to be few and far between. If the Bulldogs can avoid over-analyzing their mistakes and derailing their play, she said, the team will win more games.
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