The women’s basketball team fell to the New Hampshire Wildcats 57-51 in the home-opening game of its historic 40th season.
Coming off a disappointing loss to Holy Cross, the Bulldogs (0-2, 0–0 Ivy) struggled to find offensive consistency last night. Head coach Chris Gobrecht said the team was still adjusting to a number of changes this season, including shifts in the roster and coaching staff.
“We haven’t had a lot of offensive poise in these first few games,” Gobrecht said.
Guard Hayden Lantham ’15, center Arrice Bryant ’15 and forward Alexandra Osborn-Jones ’14 are all currently out due to injury, leaving Yale with only 10 players on the bench. With much of their inside presence missing, the Bulldogs went scoreless for the first three minutes of the game.
Guard Sarah Halejian ’15, last season’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year, led the Bulldogs with 12 points and two assists, while guards Janna Graf ’14 and Nyasha Sarju ’16 contributed 7 and 9 points, respectively. As a team, Yale struggled from behind the free-throw line, making 63.6 percent of their free throws Wednesday night, while New Hampshire (1-0) finished made 78.9 percent.
Going into the second half, the Bulldogs were down 25-32 and looking for defensive energy. Having forced the Wildcats into 21 turnovers overall, Yale had trouble on the other side of the court and finished with a 30.3 field goal percentage.
“In pressure situations we need to improve our game,” Halejian said.
Due to a five-point surge by guard Amanda Tyson ’14, Yale managed to tie the game with four minutes left. While keeping the score close, Halejian knocked in a three-pointer, making it a one-possesion game with only 20 seconds remaining. However, despite Yale’s last-minute efforts, New Hampshire’s Kelsey Hogan and Cari Reed each knocked down two free throws within the final seconds, leaving the Bulldogs just short of victory.
“It’s ok. We just need to keep playing the game as a team, finishing at the basket and playing good defense,” Sarju said.
New Hampshire forwards Kaylee Kilpatrick and Morgan Frame dominated the paint with a combined 20 points. Yale’s center Zenab Keita ’14 led Yale in rebounds and contributed her own eight points.
Despite their man-to-man defensive effort against the Wildcats, the Bulldogs were still out-rebounded 44-36.
“I thought we challenged them defensively and did a good job, but we could have improved our rebounding down the stretch,” Halejian said.
The Bulldogs will continue non-conference play on Saturday, Nov. 17, against Houston.