Coming off of their easiest win of the season last weekend, a 34-point rout of Brown, the Bulldogs will try to build on their momentum as they host a pair of Ivy League games this weekend.
Yale (8-8, 1-1 Ivy) lost a last-second game to Brown in its Ivy opener, but upped the intensity to blow out the Bears last weekend, just one week after the two teams’ first meeting. The Bulldogs will be looking to continue its strong play and get above .500 against Columbia (8-8, 1-1) and Cornell (5-9, 1-1) tonight and Saturday night.
“Certainly, if we can show up with intensity every night in the Ivy League, we should do pretty well,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said. ”When they’re not complacent, they can be really good.”
Indeed, the Elis have shown themselves capable of playing great basketball simply when they put their minds to it. At other times, mental breakdowns and a lack of intensity can sneak into their performances.
Columbia and Cornell are a pair of teams that should match up well with the Bulldogs. The Lions and the Big Red were picked to finish fifth and third in the Ivy League respectively, while Yale was picked to finish fourth.
In a highly competitive Ivy League, where the difference between teams could go down to who makes an extra free-throw or a last-second possession, the Bulldogs will need to continue their high-energy, high-intelligence play this weekend.
“I used to use the words ‘tough’ and ‘smart’ to describe their team, but there was a stretch where I didn’t see that for a long time,” Gobrecht said. “It’s started to show up again and I was very pleased about their work ethic [in last week’s game against Brown].”
That work ethic on the defensive side of the ball is what will keep Yale in the game this weekend. The Lions are led by sophomore Judie Lomax, one of the nation’s leading rebounders with an average of 13.8 boards per contest. Scoring 13.6 points per game, she is also the lone Lion averaging more than nine points per game.
Meanwhile, Cornell is led offensively by Shanna Scarselletta and Allie Fedorowicz, who average 12.5 and 10.9 points per game, respectively. Closing out on Big Red shooters will also be key because Fedorowicz and Virginia McMunigal can shoot lights out from the three-point line.
But after its rousing performance against Brown, the group is back in the flow of things and looking forward to taking on the challenges of playing back-to-back games, as is the norm in Ivy League play. With dedication and focus this weekend, Yale can get off to a 3-1 start in the Ivy League and be one of the premier contenders as the season progresses.
“There are teams that would sooner sell their grandmothers than lose a game in this conference,” Gobrecht said. “We just have to make sure we deal with them.”