The Bulldogs will be hoping that history repeats itself tonight when they face off against Brown for the second time in eight days.
The Elis (9–6, 1–0 Ivy) kicked off their conference schedule with consecutive games against Brown (9–5, 0–1 Ivy) last season as well and notched two 12-point victories in a week. This strong beginning helped set the tone for the team’s second-place Ivy League finish and first-ever bid to the National Invitational Tournament. The tradition of back-to-back league games against Brown to open the conference schedule dates back to the 2002-’03 season, and Yale is 8–11 overall in these contests. The Bulldogs lost the first eight of these contests, all of their games against Brown from 2003-’06, but the team has fared much better in recent years. They are 7–2 over the last five years and will be trying to keep this trend going tonight.
“Coach said that we can beat this team with transition and by pushing the ball,” guard Aarica West ’13 said.
The Elis beat the Bears 75–65 at Brown last Friday with the help of guard Megan Vasquez ’13, who scored 23 points, and guard Amanda Tyson ’14, who made a career-high 12 points and eight rebounds. They will try to match this result tonight, West said, but they know that a repeat performance will not be easy, as Brown led for long stretches in the last matchup. The Bulldogs blew an 11-point first-half lead and trailed Brown for much of the second half before finally pulling away in the closing minutes.
“We looked at film [after the game],” West said, “and it was apparent that despite our effort, our defense was lax at times. We need to focus better and talk more next game.”
In the previous contest the Bulldogs outrebounded the Bears and forced more turnovers, but Brown was able to stay in the game by outshooting Yale 44.7 percent to 34.2 percent even though it attempted far fewer shots. The team needs to execute better on defense, West said, adding that if the Yale continues to dominate possession, the team has a strong chance of replicating last Friday’s victory.
There is some evidence that this year’s series will mirror last year’s games against Brown. The first meeting between the teams last season also featured a career-high performance, that time by forward Janna Graf ’14, as well as a comeback victory. Graf scored 14 of her 26 points in the second half as the Bulldogs erased a halftime deficit to pick up a double-digit win. Yale even scored 44 points — the same number as last year — in the second half of both games.
Such back-to-back series are rare in the Ivy League. One other pair of teams, Cornell and Columbia had a similar tradition. The Big Red and the Lions met in consecutive games from the 2005-’06 season until last year, although they did not to do so this season.
Tipoff tonight is scheduled for 7 p.m.