The women’s basketball team (1-13, 0-1 Ivy) scrapped, hustled and fought during their Saturday seesaw against Brown (6-7, 1-0). But crippled by 34 turnovers, the Bulldogs were denied victory in their Ivy season opener in the final moments of the game, losing, 51-47.
They grabbed more rebounds, scored more points in the paint, and shot a higher percentage from the field, but the Bulldogs still fell to the Bears for the eighth-straight time in four years. The game began competitively, as the Elis jumped to a 13-10 lead midway through the first half. Forward Sara McCollum ’08 carried the team to halftime, scoring 12 points on 6-for-6 shooting and pulling down eight rebounds.
“We did really well on the boards, which has been a problem in the past,” guard Stephanie Marciano ’08 said. “[McCollum] was incredible.”
But in spite of solid inside play from the Bulldogs, Brown’s 8-4 run at half’s end sent the Yale team to the locker room down 24-23.
The Bulldogs seemed rejuvenated as they began the second half, taking a 27-24 lead as Marciano pushed the ball up the court and delivered a pinpoint pass to guard Kaitlyn Lillemoe ’09 for an easy layup. But the Bears responded quickly and effectively, capitalizing on Bulldog turnovers en route to an 18-3 run. With 12 minutes left to play, the Bulldogs were down by 12 points.
“We played soft during a critical stretch of the game,” Yale head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “We just didn’t execute well in the half court, and that hurt our chances at the end.”
Though the score looked grim, the Elis continued to fight. Captain Chinenye Okafor ’07 refused to let her team fold, scoring eight of the team’s next 10 points and fueling a 12-2 Bulldog run.
“Chinenye played excellent tonight,” guard Ashley Easley ’09 said. “That’s the ‘Nenye we’ve been looking for. She really came out and put the team on her back.”
The rest of the team seemed to respond to Okafor’s spirit. Lillemoe scored a driving layup to cut the Bears’ lead to 47-44 with just over four minutes remaining. But a three-point difference was as close as the Bulldogs would get.
The Elis squandered their chances to cut into the lead any further with a series of late turnovers, coming up just short at the final buzzer.
Still, Gobrecht said she was mostly pleased with the way her team performed.
“I think we competed well, but didn’t play as well as we could have,” Gobrecht said. “We did a great job of fixing some of the things that have plagued us, but regressed in other things.”
The Bulldogs will have to make their remaining adjustments this week. They will travel to Providence, R.I., next weekend for a rematch with the Bears.