For the third time this season, the women’s basketball team suffered a loss at an away game with a crowd of more than 2,000.
As in their last meeting with a ranked opponent, the women’s basketball team jumped out to an early lead on Aarica West’s ’13 lay-up only 10 seconds into the game. But this one proved to be much shorter lived as Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne scored the next 11 points of the game, and the Blue Hens went on to win 77-45.
“It’s disappointing,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “We’re a better team than we showed Monday night. [Delaware] is a very good team, and we had to go in and play them on their own court, but they’re no Baylor.”
Two weeks ago, when Yale played No. 1 ranked Baylor, the Bulldogs were able to catch the Bears off-guard with their energy early in the game, and led for most of the first half before the Bears took control and eventually clinched the win.
When West opened the scoring with a quick lay-up, and No. 22 Delaware missed its first two shots of the game, the Elis might have anticipated a first half like the one they played against Baylor.
Delle Donne, the Hens’ 6” forward who leads the nation in scoring with 29.3 points a game, had other ideas. She put Delaware on the scoreboard with a jump shot a minute after West’s basket. After Yale missed two three-pointers on its next possession, she exploded for seven points in 25 seconds to put the Hens up 9-2. West responded with a lay-up and a three-pointer, but Yale went cold for the next five minutes until West hit a free throw with 11:35 remaining in the half to bring the score to 24-8.
West scored Yale’s first eight points and was the only Bulldog to find the net for the first nine minutes of the game. Guard Megan Vasquez ’13 eventually finished with a leading 10 points.
Delle Donne was the only Delaware player also to finish in double figures and, in fact, no other Blue Hen had more than five points in the contest. They made up for these low totals with depth, however, as all but one Delaware player logged at least 10 minutes and scored at least two points.
Most of these players saw time only after Delle Donne had already almost single-handedly helped Delaware take a lead that Yale would not close. Outscoring the entire Yale team for the period, Donne accumulated 21 points in 12 minutes during the first half, and finished the game with 28.
The Bulldogs were plagued by a poor shooting night and finished the game with shot only 30 percent from the floor. Only two of the team’s 20 attempts from beyond the arc found the net.
Gobrecht said these struggles were especially frustrating for her team.
“We had a lot of good looks [Monday] night,” she said. “We just couldn’t get them to fall.”
The Elis have played their last six games away from the John J. Lee Amphitheater. Gobrecht said she thought some of the crowds the Bulldogs faced contributed to the team’s struggles. Three of its losses during this stretch, those to Marist, Baylor and now Delaware, have come in front of opposing crowds of 2,000 or more.
“We’ve played in front of three great crowds at Marist, Baylor and Delaware the last few weeks,” Gobrecht said. “And what I see right now is that we’re playing young — young and inexperienced and we just have to grow up.”
Far from destroying the Bulldogs’ confidence, however, these games against elite opponents should prepare them for the rest of the season, she added.
“[Playing elite teams] means that you will have no illusions about yourself,” Gobrecht said. “It shows us what we need to work on and if we keep perspective it should help us out the way that it did last year.”
Last season the Bulldogs finished with a 10-5 conference record and were second in the Ivy League after playing a non-conference schedule which included then-no. 15 Florida State, which the Elis upset 91-85.
The Bulldogs return home for a game against Boston University Wednesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.