It was a tale of two games for the women’s basketball team this weekend.
On Friday, the Bulldogs (10–12, 5–3 Ivy) were dominated by rival Harvard (14–7, 5–2) 88–65 in Cambridge, Mass., but the Elis prevailed 70–66 in double overtime over defending Ivy League champion Dartmouth (9–12, 4–3) the following day. Yale is now tied for third in the Ivy League.
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Against archrival Harvard, the Bulldog defense struggled, giving up 88 points and allowing Harvard to shoot a scorching 64.9 percent for the game, including 71.4 percent in the second half.
“It was our worst performance of the year,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “We just didn’t play well. Who knows what happened?”
The game started with even play, as Yale took a 12–11 lead with 14:31 left in the first half. But the Elis would not score another field goal for nearly seven minutes, as Harvard put together a 16–4 run to take an 11-point lead with seven minutes left in the half. Yale managed to cut into that lead before halftime, entering intermission down 39–32.
Just like in the first half, the Cantabs used a seven-minute run to boost their lead, this time to 62–40 with 11:49 remaining. While the Bulldogs cut the lead to 12 with 4:26 left, Harvard answered with three three-pointers — and never looked back.
“We just weren’t mentally prepared,” guard Allie Messimer ’13 said.
The Elis were outrebounded 30–24 and committed 18 turnovers. Forward Michelle Cashen ’12 led three Yale players in double-figure scoring with 14 points, while guards Yoyo Greenfield ’11 and Megan Vasquez ’13 chipped in 11 points apiece.
Team members said they were disappointed with the loss and vowed to play better together the next day, Messimer said.
“Let’s just say I don’t think we’ll have a problem with motivation the next time we play them,” Gobrecht said.
The Bulldogs came back strong the next day in Hanover, N.H., holding Dartmouth without a field goal for the first 4:55 of the game. Yale made an 11–2 run midway through the half to grab an 18–8 lead with 6:51 left in the half, but Dartmouth fought back, cutting the lead to six, at 28–22, by halftime.
The two teams traded baskets for most of the second half. Yale held a 52–46 lead with 4:35 left, but the Big Green finally went on a run, making it 56–55 with 1:12 remaining in the game. Yale hit a free throw to make it a two-point margin before reigning Ivy League Player of the Year Brittney Smith sank a layup for the Big Green to knot the score and send it into overtime.
The first overtime was a defensive battle, with each team scoring only four points. With the Elis down two with 12 seconds to go, Vasquez took a loose ball coast-to-coast to even the score at 61–61 and force another overtime.
In the second overtime, Greenfield made a layup to tie the game with two minutes remaining. Cashen hit what would prove to be the game-winning jumper with 47 seconds left on Yale’s next possession.
“I was just thinking, ‘Score and get back on defense,’ ” Cashen said.
The Bulldogs hit three of four free throws to seal the victory against the Ivy League’s most storied program.
“There’s a reason Dartmouth has won 17 Ivy Championships,” Gobrecht said. “Ultimately, our starters were a little fresher at the end.”
Added Cashen: “It was a huge win. Our seniors had never won at Dartmouth before that game.”
Vasquez scored a team-high 19 points, while Cashen added 13 points and nine rebounds. Forward Mady Gobrecht ’11 contributed seven points and 10 rebounds.
The Elis return home to the John J. Lee Amphitheater this coming weekend as they face first-place Princeton on Friday, followed by last-place Penn on Saturday. Both games will start at 7 p.m.