On Friday night, the women’s basketball team did not play up to its potential. On Saturday night, it did, and it showed.
After suffering a tough 73–57 loss at the hands of first-place Princeton (19–4, 8–1 Ivy) on Friday night, the Elis (11–13, 7–3) rebounded with a 66–53 win over Penn (10–13, 4–5) the next day.
The weekend split dropped the Bulldogs to third place in the Ivy League standings. The Elis currently trail Princeton and Harvard, who both swept their games this weekend.
The Bulldogs had a chance to take over the top spot in the Ancient Eight on Friday night when they traveled down to New Jersey for their meeting with Princeton. Yale had entered the matchup only a half game behind the Tigers and would have taken over first place with a win.
But the Bulldogs underperformed in the first half, and the Tigers used a series of runs to build a 24-point lead at halftime. Though the Bulldogs battled back in the second half, they could not overcome the deficit, allowing Princeton to retain its hold on first place in the Ivy League.
“I think we came out a little bit flat,” guard Allie Messimer ’13 said. “When they jumped out and got a 15-point lead, we all kind of freaked out. We just weren’t competing on the same level that they were, and things only got worse from there.”
Forward Mady Gobrecht ’11 led the Bulldogs with 15 points and nine rebounds, while guard Megan Vasquez ’13 added 12 points.
Five Tigers ended the night in double-digits, including center Megan Bowen, who scored 15 points off the bench to lead Princeton. Center Devona Allgood also totaled 14 points, five boards and three steals in the contest.
Both teams traded buckets for the first four minutes of play. Though the game was tied 6–6 at the 16:34 mark, the Tigers used an 11–0 run to go up 17–6.
A layup from forward Michelle Cashen ’12 capped a 7–2 run by Yale that cut Princeton’s lead to 19–13 with 11:35 left in the half, but the Tigers went on to score 10 unanswered points to maintain their control of the game.
A trey from Gobrecht ended the Bulldogs’ scoring drought, but after that, Princeton continued to be the dominant team and went on an 8–0 run to take a 37–16 lead at the 6:27 mark. The Tigers closed out the first half by scoring three consecutive layups over the final 2:23 to take a 47–23 lead into the locker room.
Princeton shot a scorching 61 percent from the field in the first half and outrebounded the Bulldogs 24–11.
Still, the Elis battled back to reduce the deficit after halftime and outscored the Tigers 11–4 over the first seven minutes of the second half. A three-point shot from forward Janna Graf ’14 with 13:05 left cut the Tigers’ lead to 51–34, but Princeton responded by scoring 10 unanswered points to push its lead back up to 27.
A shot from beyond the arc from Messimer pulled the Elis within 14 points, but it was the closest they would get, as they could not dig themselves out of their first-half hole.
“Once you get down by 20 or so, it’s kind of hard to pull yourself out,” Messimer said. “We didn’t have the mentality at the time to do what we needed to do, to calm ourselves and just pull ourselves out of it.”
With the win, the Tigers secured their hold of first place, while the Bulldogs tumbled down one spot to third. Harvard was able to take over second place with a win over Cornell.
The following night, the Elis traveled to Philadelphia to take on Penn at the Palestra. The Bulldogs rebounded from their loss to Princeton in a big way, as Vasquez and Gobrecht scored 21 and 20 points, respectively, to lift Yale over the Quakers.
“I think that I was definitely worried,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “We had played poorly [against Princeton], and it had been a real downer type of a loss. But they did an incredible job of bouncing back. We played as well today as we did poorly last night. We were throwing all the punches tonight.”
Gobrecht had a team-high nine boards, three assists and three steals to go along with her 20 points. Guard Aarica West ’13 added seven points and three assists, while Cashen grabbed six rebounds and dished out six assists. The Bulldogs shot 53.1 percent from the field in the effort.
Brianna Bradford led the Quakers with 13 points. Freshman guard Alyssa Baron, who leads the league in scoring with 16.5 points per game, was limited to just nine points.
The Bulldogs got off to a fast start, jumping out to a 9–2 lead after Vasquez hit a jumper at the 15:46 mark.
Penn fought back and pulled within four points after a layup from Jerin Smith trimmed Yale’s lead to 13–9, but the Elis responded with a 13–2 run over the next seven minutes to take a 26–11 lead at the 6:11 mark.
Still, the Quakers ended the half with a pair of layups to cut Yale’s lead to 28–17 at halftime.
The Bulldogs held Penn to 29.2 percent shooting in the first half and outrebounded them 17–14.
The Quakers came out of the locker room strong and quickly scored four points to pull within seven, but the Bulldogs countered with a 20–2 run that gave them a 48–23 edge with 10:06 left on the clock. Four minutes later, Gobrecht converted a three-point play to give the Elis a 27-point lead, their largest of the night.
“I thought everyone showed up to play, and that’s what we have to do,” coach Gobrecht said.
Though the Quakers outscored the Bulldogs 20–6 over the final six minutes of the game, the damage had already been done, and the Elis emerged with their second win over Penn this season.
“It’s tough to win on the road, so we’re happy to get the win at Penn, that’s for sure,” coach Gobrecht said.
The team embarks on another road trip this weekend, when it travels to Dartmouth and Harvard. Tip-off against Dartmouth is slated for Friday night at 7 p.m. The matchup against Harvard is set to start at 6 p.m. Saturday night.