After this weekend, the Ivy league women’s basketball standings should come into focus.
With only six games left in the season, the Elis are down but not yet mathematically out in their quest for their first Ivy title since the 1978-’79 season. But to win the Ancient Eight, they will need a lot of help from league leader Dartmouth, which is undefeated.
In order to set themselves up for a title run — albeit a highly unlikely one — the Bulldogs (10-12, 3-5 Ivy) must be victorious from here on out. They will start their campaign this weekend in the Empire State, where they will face Cornell (7-13, 3-5) and Columbia (11-11, 4-4) on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
This will be the second meeting between Yale and each of its two opponents; the Elis defeated the Lions and fell to the Big Red earlier in the season.
But the difference in this weekend’s match-up will be the injury to starting forward Haywood Wright ’10. Wright led the team in rebounding and blocks with 7.5 boards and 1.6 blocks per contest, but injured her knee in last week’s matchup against Princeton. Wright’s absence in the following game against Penn was clearly evident as the Elis struggled to score while also getting outrebounded.
“Haywood gives us another scorer on the floor every night,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said after the Penn game. “When she went down, we really took the third kid off the floor that had a scoring mentality and we’ll need the entire team to look for their shots to make up for it.”
The team should not have any lack of intensity in its first game of the weekend against Cornell on Friday night. Not only are the two teams currently tied for sixth in the league, but the last time they met, Cornell beat the Bulldogs at home. By travelling to Ithaca, N.Y., this weekend, the Elis will have a chance to repay the favor. Yale will have to key in on Cornell’s trio of starters, Shanna Scarselletta, Allie Fedorowicz and Lauren Benson, who average 30-plus minutes in.
Benson and Fedorowicz are a pair of feisty guards and both are great at shooting from long range and dishing the ball for assists. Meanwhile, Scarselletta is the Big Red’s leading rebounder and scorer and containing her from down low will take extra effort without Wright.
Meanwhile, Yale will have to key in on scoring against Columbia, the Ivy League’s second best scoring team at 64.1 points a game. The fourth ranked Lions are not afraid to push the ball and that style could pose a problem for the Elis on the tail end of a back-to-back. Even more problematic is the play of Columbia’s Judie Lomax, the nation’s leading rebounder with 13.8 boards a game. She’s also the sole Lion to average double-figures with 14.1 points per game, so containing her game will also be key to Yale completing its sweep of Columbia this season.