The women’s basketball team will face a tough task on Saturday, as Army will visit New Haven for the two teams’ 28th overall meeting.
Yale (4–4, 0–0 Ivy) enters the game with momentum, having defeated Bryant (2–5, 0–0 NEC) on Wednesday night. The Bulldogs will face the Black Knights (6–1, 0–0 Patriot), who have won six straight following their season-opening loss.
The Elis snapped a three-game losing streak on Tuesday and are looking for their second straight home win on the second of their four game homestand.
Although the squad earned a strong win against Bryant, turnovers still marred the Bulldog offense, as the team turned the ball over 19 times. This was countered by the fact that Bryant was equally prone to mistakes, giving away possession 26 times.
“For the next game we want to value our possessions more and execute better,” forward Meredith Boardman ’16 said. “We were really excited to bounce back from tough losses and we feel like we have gotten to a pivotal place in our season.”
Yale struggled shooting during three tough games over Thanksgiving break — including defeats to two teams that made the postseason last year — by averaging just 24.6 percent from behind the arc. But against Bryant, the Bulldogs hit a season-high 11 three-pointers on 42.3 percent shooting from beyond the three-point line. Yale also converted 39.7 percent of its field goals, a rate which is above the team’s season average of 36.6 percent.
The Elis will look to continue their momentum against Army, who were the co-champions of the Patriot League last season with Navy.
“Our win over Bryant helps us build momentum and confidence for the other two games we have this week,” guard Hayden Latham ’15 said. “Army will be a tough competitor and will make us play all 40 minutes, so it will be crucial that we keep up our focus and our energy. I think we will have a very good shot at winning on Saturday if we bring both aspects to our game.
Army was predicted to finish second in the Patriot League in the conference’s preseason poll following its postseason berth last spring in the WNIT, where the Black Knights fell to Fordham in the first round. Yale faced Fordham earlier this season, losing 80–52.
Army features guard Kelsey Minato, who was the Patriot League player and rookie of the year last season as well as a preseason pick this season for the All-Patriot League team. She led the Black Knights in scoring with 16 points in Army’s last game, a 73-48 victory over Morgan State (1–4, 0–0 MEAC).
Army has a high-powered offense that has eclipsed the 70-point mark three times this season. The potent threat will be a good test for the Bulldogs defense, which played pressure defense against Bryant down the stretch. Yale totaled 16 steals and three blocks against Bryant.
“Well, Bryant was definitely a good team, but Army is probably better, so this was a good warm-up, just getting another win under us coming off of the break,” guard Sarah Halejian ’15 said. “It got our confidence back up, and hopefully that will carry over to Saturday.”
The Bulldogs will be looking to avenge last year’s loss, when the Black Knights defeated the Elis 53–47 at West Point. Army holds the series advantage 17–10.
Tip off is Saturday at 2 p.m. at John J. Lee Amphitheater.