Despite a largely even match, the woman’s basketball program was unable to secure a win in its first game of the season against St. John’s.
The Bulldogs opened their season Saturday evening with a game against St. John’s. The team was expected to be one of Yale’s toughest opponents, having been ranked second in the Big East Preseason’s Coaches’ Poll. Although confident in their ability to match up against St. John’s, the Elis struggled on rebounding and containing offensive plays, leading to a final score of 61–50.
St. John’s scored the first basket, but Yale quickly followed with a three pointer by Meghan McIntyre ’17, after which the two teams scored back and forth for most of the first half. But with roughly six minutes left on the clock in the first half, the Red Storm began to pull away — at three minutes to halftime, the score had become 27–17. Although Yale attempted to catch up, the first half ended with a score of 31–21.
Despite the lead acquired early by the Red Storm, Bulldog captain Sarah Haleijan ’15 was content with the way the team dealt with the situation.
“We did a good job of bouncing back and not panicking after St. John’s went on their runs,” Haleijan said.
The second half proved to be much more successful for the Elis. By the 10-minute mark, the Elis trailed St. John’s by just three points, 41–38.
Haleijan noted that the team was more settled in the second half and was able to put in the effort to make the necessary adjustments head coach Chris Gobrecht had asked of them at the half.
At the six-minute mark, Haleijan made two free throws, which brought the score to a close 45–44. However, the last five minutes of the game would turn out to be crucial. St. John’s would again extend its lead, reaching a maximum of 12 points, and then falling to 11 points at the game’s end.
“Unfortunately, despite staying close in score the whole game, they raised their level of play in the last five minutes and we did not,” Haleijan said.
One of the biggest challenges in this game for the Bulldogs was getting rebounds. Yale was out-rebounded 25–13 in the first half, and despite improving to 22–18 in the second half, the team still showed a significantly lower rebound rate than the Red Storm. St. John’s forward Amber Thompson grabbed 14 rebounds alone — almost half of what the Bulldogs had throughout the entire game.
Mary Ann Santucci ’18 admitted that St John’s was able to get many offensive rebounds, but said that in the second half the team rebounded much better and did not allow them to get as many offensive boards.
Haleijan expressed a similar opinion, adding that the team needed to do a better job of rebounding and containing dribble penetration in future games.
Despite the loss, the Bulldogs are looking ahead to their next challenge, another home game, this time against Holy Cross.
“We completely put this loss behind us and put our focus on Holy Cross because we have a quick turnaround between these two games,” Haleijan said. “There were, however, teaching points from the St. John’s game that will carry over and have helped us prepare for Holy Cross.”
The game was also a good display of the skill of both reserves and freshmen additions. Yale had a total of 10 bench points throughout the game, 20 percent of all of the Elis’ points.
St. John’s is the only Big East team Yale will play this season.