The women’s basketball team took its second trip to New York in a week — and lost for the second time in a week.
The Elis visited Hofstra’s suburban Long Island campus for the first time since 1999 and ran into a dauntless Pride squad already in the midst of a six-game winning streak. Hofstra (8-1) defeated Yale (2-7), 71-52, as the Bulldogs were never able to catch up to the surging home team in a tough second half.
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Yale looked very strong coming out of the gate. The Elis only relinquished the lead once in the first five and a half minutes, but senior guard Cigi McCollin’s layup at 5:40 gave the Pride a lead that never relented. But the Bulldogs kept up with their hosts, as center Erica Davis ’07 and guard Stephanie Marciano ’08 each tallied eight points and finished off a strong first 20 minutes that left the Elis just seven points behind the Pride.
But the Bulldogs found the basket only twice in the first nine minutes of play in the second half, as their offense was limited to guard Jamie Van Horne’s ’09 three pointer and captain and forward Chinenye Okafor’s ’07 layup, while Hofstra jumped out to a 54-37 advantage. Continuing their skid, the Elis would go on to score just 20 points in the final 20 minutes, lagging behind a Pride squad that tallied 32.
Davis said both the offensive and defensive efforts were effective last night.
“We showed good penetration, but could have pushed the ball more [on offense],” she said. “The defense gave good help.”
Davis registered a double-double, leading the Bulldogs with 16 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, followed by guard Van Horne’s 12 points. Davis said she did not realize how many boards she had until late in the first half.
Forward Haywood Wright ’10, recovering from an injury, got her first career minutes, and Ashley Carter ’10 returned to Hempstead, where she played high school basketball 10 minutes from Hofstra’s campus.
“The homecoming was very nice and it was good to see everybody,” Carter said.
Hofstra, fresh off a six-game winning streak — beating then-No. 17 Michigan and only falling to No. 12 Baylor — took charge in the second half. The all-senior starting line features four players averaging double-digit points per game, and together this quartet posted 59 points last night. Senior center Vanessa Gidden racked up 22 points, the game high, but fell short of Davis’s impressive board total, leading the Pride with only eight.
Hofstra went 68.8 percent from the free throw line, significantly better than the Elis’ dismal 28.6 percent. Yale head coach Chris Gobrecht said the Bulldogs’ inability to shoot from the charity stripe may have cost the team the game.
“If we made our free throws it would have been a 10-point game,” she said.
But Gobrecht’s wish was not to be, and the Elis’ low field goal percentage (37.5) coupled with the Pride’s unwillingness to give up the lead spelled defeat for the Bulldogs.
Gobrecht remains optimistic, even with the Yale loss, but she said that the team is happy to be getting back to New Haven for the next three games after playing eight of its first nine on the road.
“We did some good things,” she said. “I’m confident that we can play with anybody, but we’re really tired of being on the road.”
Forward Melissa Colborne ’10 was recently named Ivy League Rookie of the Week for the third time this season. Okafor also received Ivy commendations, being named to the Honor Roll this week in recognition of her conference-leading 9.2 boards per game.
The Bulldogs, who will play solely in Payne Whitney for the remainder of 2006, take on Marist on Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. to continue their lengthy pre-conference lineup.