It was a tale of two halves Friday night at the Brown’s Pizzitola Sports Center as the women’s basketball team faced off against the Bears (9–5, 0–1 Ivy).
After going into halftime down by one, the Bulldogs (9–6, 1–0 Ivy) rallied down the stretch to come away with a 75–65 victory and a 1–0 start to their conference schedule.
The Elis seemed to be well in control of this game during the opening minutes as they built up an early lead that Sarah Halejian’s ’15 two free throws stretched to 11 with 11:35 remaining in the first period. But from then on, Brown went on a 21–9 run to erase Yale’s lead and go into halftime with a narrow, one-point lead.
“We went out with the mindset that we had to win on defense,” guard Aarica West ’13 said. “They have good guards and good three-point shooters, and we knew that we had to stop them to give ourselves a chance to win.”
The Bulldogs struggled to do this early on and allowed the Bears to shoot 60 percent from the field in the first half while managing only a 34.3 percent mark themselves. Yale kept itself in the game by grabbing 10 offensive rebounds, allowing it to attempt 15 more field goals than Brown before halftime.
After halftime, the Elis stepped up their defensive effort and held the Bears to 33.3 percent shooting for the second half. They forced eight Brown turnovers while committing only one themselves and continued to dominate the offensive glass. The team amassed a 21–6 edge in offensive rebounds for the game.
Head coach Chris Gobrecht, who could not be reached for comment Monday, told Yale Athletics that Brown dictated the pace of the game in the first half, but Yale was able to gain control of the action later in the match.
“Even when we had the lead [in the first half], it wasn’t our tempo,” Gobrect said to Yale Athletics. “It was still very much favoring them, so I didn’t feel very good about that lead and sure enough it didn’t hold up. I thought we worked a lot harder to create more [opportunities] in the second half. We attacked a little bit better and we just forced the action.”
The Bulldogs’ second-half comeback got a huge boost from Amanda Tyson ’14, who came off the bench in the second half to record 10 of her 12 points and seven of her game-high eight rebounds. Her efforts helped Yale to an 11-point advantage in the half. Eight of those rebounds were on the offensive side of the ball, and Tyson had six points in a four-minute span that helped the Bulldogs pull away from the Bears for good.
The 12 points, eight rebounds and seven offensive rebounds are all new career highs for Tyson. The sophomore also set new career-high marks in shots and free throws made, each at four.
Gobrecht added that Tyson’s performance was a key to Yale’s victory against the Bears.
“Amanda Tyson totally gets the game ball in this one,” Gobrecht said. “She was the one that came in and made things happen. She got on the offensive glass. She created some turnovers. She made some big buckets. She looks really good in practice, so it didn’t surprise me that she came around and finally had a game that shows the player that we keep seeing in practice.”
Brown pulled to within one point of Yale’s 58 with 4:08 remaining in the game on Brown guard Sheila Dixon’s layup. Dixon led the Bears’ scorers with 20 points but was unable to lead her team to victory this time.
Only 13 seconds after Dixon’s layup, Michelle Cashen ’12 answered with a layup of her own and was fouled. Cashen made the free throw to complete the three-point play and give the Bulldogs a four-point lead. Halejian scored Yale’s next seven points to outmatch Brown’s four and stretch the lead to seven. Megan Vasquez ’13, West, Halejian and guard Allie Messimer ’13 all made free throws to close out the game. Vasquez finished with a game-high 23 points, to which she added five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
The Bulldogs return home this Friday night to face Brown again in their second league contest. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.