This time, Goliath was well prepared for David: Yale could not repeat its near upset of Boston College over a week ago with a victory against Massachusetts last night.

The Bulldogs (3-11, 1-0 Ivy) fell to the Minutewomen (9-9), 91-57, at the Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass. The Elis had previously nearly upset Boston College (15-5) in Boston only nine days ago, losing in the last minute by two points after leading by as much as 10. The Minutewomen, who had beaten Boston College, 69-66, earlier in the season, made sure the Bulldogs would not pull out the upset. The Minutewomen started the game with a 19-4 run, setting the pace for the rest of the game.

Extra motivation for the Minutewomen also likely came from their memory of last year’s 70-60 loss to the Elis in New Haven. In addition, Massachusetts suffered an embarrassing 23-point defeat at home to Richmond (9-9) on Sunday. Prior to that loss, the Minutewomen had won their previous seven home games.

If those tough circumstances were not enough, the Bulldogs had to play last night’s game without captain and starting point guard Stephanie Marciano ’08. Several players said Marciano’s halftime speech had spurred the Elis’ comeback against Brown last Saturday in Providence.

“It was definitely tough without Steph out there,” forward Mady Gobrecht ’11 said. “She is a big leader on the court, and we missed her encouragement out there.”

After the Minutewomen’s fast start, the Bulldogs recovered to play Massachusetts a competitive 25-20 to enter halftime with a score of 44-24.

The Elis then began the second half strong, closing the gap to 11 points with 16:07 left in the game. Three-pointers by guards Jamie Van Horne ’09 and Yoyo Greenfield ’11 helped key the 15-6 run. But the Bulldogs never got closer than 11 for the rest of the game, as the Minutewomen scored the next seven points to push the lead back to 18 and on to the final margin of 34.

Massachusetts was led by the trio of guard Pam Rosanio, forward Kate Mills and forward Stefanie Gerardot, who scored 23, 17 and 18 points, respectively, for the Minutewomen. Forward Lindsey Williams ’11 scored 13 points, while Gobrecht notched 10 rebounds to lead the Elis.

At the very least, the Bulldogs successfully rebounded from their dismal shooting performance against Brown last Saturday. The Elis shot a much more respectable 38.2 percent from the field and 38.1 percent on 3-pointers against the Minutewomen, compared to 24.1 percent and 15.4 percent against the Bears, respectively.

Amidst the blowout loss, center Sara McCollum ’08 successfully made her return to the Bulldogs’ lineup after missing nine games with a broken hand. She played four minutes against Massachusetts and snagged two rebounds.

McCollum began the year in the starting lineup but has missed every game with the injury, playing last against Cal-St. Bakersfield on Nov. 24. Her return should be a boost to the Elis’ post rotation, which has had to lean on freshmen Williams and Gobrecht and sophomore forward Haywood Wright ’10.

“It was great to be back. It feels like it has been a long time,” McCollum said. “I didn’t even notice [the injury] while on the court.”

The game marked the last non-conference game for the Bulldogs, who now can finally focus on their Ivy League schedule.

The Bulldogs look forward to a rematch against Brown this Saturday at 7 p.m. at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

“We will definitely bounce back against Brown,” Wright said. “It’s not usual for us to shoot 24 percent. I can’t imagine us shooting that badly again.”