Now midway through the conference season, the women’s basketball team looks to tie up loose ends this weekend and enter its final three weeks with a stronger mindset.

The Elis (4-17, 1-7 Ivy) will open up the second half of Ivy play on the road in a rematch against Princeton (10-10, 2-5) Friday evening, followed by round two against the University of Pennsylvania (12-8, 5-2) the following night.

In the Bulldogs’ last encounter with the Tigers, Princeton had the upper hand for most of the first half, entering the break with a 35-22 advantage. But the Elis caught a second wind and outscored the Tigers 30-21 after the break. Yale forward Lindsay Page ’05 led the Bulldogs with 14 points and seven rebounds.

Although the second-half rally was not enough in the 56-52 loss, it definitely let the Bulldogs know that they can pull out a win over the Tigers at Jadwin Gym.

“We just have to play hard in the first half,” Yale guard Tory Mauseth ’05 said. “And if we just use what we have been working on over the past few weeks, we can definitely beat Princeton.”

Captain Morgan Richards ’05 has been leading the Bulldogs in Ivy League games with an average of 11 points and 5.4 rebounds per game and has a total of 53 assists. Yale center Erica Davis ’07, the leading shot-blocker in the Ivy League and the top shot-blocker in Yale history, still leads her squad overall in points (12.2 ppg) and rebounds (6.7 rpg).

The Elis will still have to keep a close eye on Princeton center Rebecca Brown, who scored 16 points in the win over Yale and is averaging 13.7 points per game.

The following night, the Bulldogs will travel to the Palestra to square off against the Quakers, who are now tied for third with Harvard in the Ivies.

The Elis had a difficult time finding a spark to their game the last time they played Penn at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

Mauseth and Richards each scored seven points to lead the Bulldogs, who fell short in the second half and suffered a 53-40 loss.

While the Elis may have been able to keep the losses against Princeton and Penn off of their minds, the two brutal losses last weekend against Dartmouth and Harvard may be harder to let go. The team fell by 20 points against the Big Green and 35 against the Crimson.

“Last weekend really did affect the confidence and spirits of our team — they were humiliating losses,” Page said. “We’ve been slowly pulling ourselves back together this week and hopefully we can show more improvement during our final three weeks.”

Although at this point the team does not have a realistic shot at the conference championship, the Bulldogs are setting their focus more on proving what they have believed ever since the first game of the 2004-05 season: that they are a team not to be taken lightly.

“We definitely have a better understanding of what we are up against now that we’ve played each team,” Richards said. “Now we are just going to do our best learning from our losses last week and building our confidence from the games we’ve won.”

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