The women’s basketball team was handed its first defeat of 2011 on Sunday when it fell 63-56 on the road to Army, its final non-conference game of the season.
Despite staying competitive with the Black Knights (7-8) for much of the first half, the Bulldogs (4-10) could not sink all the shots they needed for a second-half comeback, allowing Army to come away with the win at Christl Arena.
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The Elis had a lackluster shooting performance and went 21for60 (35 percent) from the field in the contest.
“We definitely did not play well,” guard Allie Messimer ‘13 said. “It wasn’t that we couldn’t do it physically, and mentally we’re all there and all together.It’s really a focus thing.”
Injuries were also a factor in the game. The Elis were without starting forward Michelle Cashen ’12, who was out with a sprained ankle. But freshman forward Janna Graf ’14 started in her place and scored a team-high 17 points while also grabbing six boards. Forward Mady Gobrecht ’11 also added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Bulldogs.
The Black Knights were led by forward Erin Anthony, who finished the game with a double-double, scoring 21 points and tallying 14 rebounds. Anthony also added six blocks.
The game was close for most of the first half as both teams traded leads for the first 12 minutes of the contest. The Bulldogs took anarrow 18-17 lead following a basket from forward Alicia Seelaus ‘13 with 8:05 remaining in the half.
But the Elis were unable to hold onto that lead, as the Black Knights outscored the Bulldogs 13-4 over the last eight minutes of the first half to take an eight-point lead at halftime.
“They were playing very good defense, so we were struggling offensively,” Messimer said.
Still, Yale came out of the locker room strong and cut Army’s lead to 30-27 following a jumper from Graf and a three-point play from Aarica West ’13.
But the Black Knights responded by going on a 7-2 run over the next three minutes to once again take an eight-point lead. A shot from beyond the arc from Army forward Laura Baranek with 16:01 left on the clock gave the Black Knights a 37-29 advantage.
Gobrecht brought the Bulldogs within four points after she hit a pair of shots from the charity stripe and then followed it up with a steal and a three-pointer that cut Army’s lead to 53-49 with 5:13 left in regulation.
But the Black Knights dashed the Elis’ hopes for a comeback after Anthony sank two free throws and guard Nalini Hawkins scored a layup to reestablish Army’s eight-point lead with 1:28 left on the clock. After that, the Bulldogs were unable to overcome the deficit, and the Black Knights emerged with the win.
With the end of the non-conference portion of the team’s schedule, the Elis will now turn their attention to the beginning of league play, which starts this Friday when the Bulldogs host Brown.
“I think that we’re going to be ready,” Messimer said. “We have a week of practice where we really need to fix a couple of things. I think this is definitely a wake-up call that showed us what we need to do to win, and that we can’t just step off a bus and not be ready to play.”
Tip-off against Brown is slated for 7 p.m. at John J. Lee Amphitheater.