All good things must come to an end. For the women’s basketball team, that meant losing its first game in over a month.
Brown (3-13, 1-1 Ivy) put a halt to Yale’s (8-8, 1-1) six-game winning streak on Saturday night in a comeback victory against the Elis in Providence, 67-60. A powerful 21-point performance from guard Jamie Van Horne ’09 was not enough for the visiting Bulldogs to sweep their first season series since the 1999-2000 season. Yale did not surrender the lead through the first 31 minutes, but a turnover with nine minutes to go allowed Brown to gain control of the game en route to a seven-point victory.
The match had a promising beginning — Van Horne sunk a three-pointer a minute-and-a-half in, a preview of what was to come from the sophomore from Healdsburg, Calif. She went on to add six more long balls to set a Yale record for field goal percentage from beyond the arc. Guard Stephanie Marciano ’08 contributed another two to the total, and by the break the Elis had collected 24 points off of threes.
The Yale lead peaked at 15 points in the middle of the first half, but with a basket by freshman forward Natalie Bonds four minutes before the intermission, the Bears went on a tear. The hosts launched an eleven-point run to cut the lead to six at the half, allowing the Bulldogs a late Marciano basket as the lone Yale score in the closing minutes.
“We shot well, but that wasn’t going to get us the win,” Marciano said. “We just didn’t play defense well.”
But as the second half got under way, the defense gave out and the game spiraled out of the Elis’ control. Even through the recent winning streak, turnovers continued to plague the squad, and this time, the Bulldogs’ 22 turnovers cost them 22 Bears points.
“We just had a bad run of turnovers,” Davis said. “We weren’t executing on offense, and on defense we would do a couple of good things and then end up fouling them or they would score.”
Brown took advantage of Yale’s weaknesses this Saturday by putting more offensive pressure on the Elis than in the teams’ previous meeting. The Bears had a 53.1 field goal percentage, topping the Bulldogs’ 40.8 mark. The Bears’ 13 takeaways exposed Yale’s turnover problem.
Directly following a Yale turnover with nine minutes remaining, a basket by senior guard Lena McAfee put the Bears ahead for the first time, 48-47, a lead they did not surrender as they went on to outscore the Elis 19-13 in the final 10 minutes. The Bulldogs’ list of problems grew exponentially later in the game, particularly after they lost top-scorer, Davis, who fouled out in the 35th minute.
While Van Horne tallied 21 points for the Elis, Brown’s sophomore forward Catherine Schaper matched the game-high point total with a career-best 21. Even though the Bulldogs were able to find the basket, their rebounding game suffered without injured captain and forward Chinenye Okafor ’07, who led the team before this latest defeat in boards per game.
“We didn’t pay that much attention to our defense,” Okafor said. “And we didn’t rebound especially well in the second half. It was disappointing that we lost to a team that we could have creamed.”
Eli starters were responsible for 49 of the total 60 points and had more than half the team’s total rebounds. However, the Bears’ opening five only racked up a combined 27 points, with their remaining 40 points coming from reserves. Davis said the Brown comeback was a result of poor Yale defending and the game was one the Elis should have won.
“We were giving them a lot more possessions than we were giving ourselves,” she said. “They were defensively more aggressive, and they really took advantage of our poor defense.”
Even though Yale was outplayed this Saturday, the Bulldogs will be able to start anew following this defeat, Marciano said.
“It’s terrible [to end the streak], but we just have to come back into the gym on Monday and start again,” she said. “We have two big games this weekend to prepare for.”