The Yale women’s basketball team easily dismantled Manhattan on Tuesday night, winning by a score of 62–36 to continue an unblemished 3–0 start at home.
The Bulldogs (5–3, 0–0 Ivy) led from start to finish, and the defense in particular was exceptionally effective against the Jaspers (2–4, 0–0 Metro Atlantic), forcing 33 turnovers and limiting Manhattan to just 10–48 shooting that night. For the sixth game this season, guard Nyasha Sarju ’16 led the team in scoring, registering 12 points to pace the Elis. Guards Meghan McIntyre ’17 and Tamara Simpson ’18 joined Sarju in the double digits, tallying 10 points each.
“We came out with intensity on both ends of the floor from the tip,” captain and guard Whitney Wyckoff ’16 said. “Our defense was what really allowed us to gain a big lead in the first quarter and we never let up the rest of the game.”
Center Emmy Allen ’16 added that improved free-throw and field-goal percentages — Yale shot 78.6 percent from the foul line and 42.6 percent from the floor — as well as solid rebounding contributed to the team’s win.
The Bulldogs immediately applied pressure on Manhattan, jumping out to a 16–2 advantage within the first six minutes of action, a lead that the Jaspers were never able to overcome. All five starters — Sarju, McIntyre, Simpson, Wyckoff and forward Katie Werner ’17 — scored in the opening run that ultimately saw Yale take a 25–10 lead into the second quarter. Sarju was at the center of Yale’s quick start, hitting all of her shots in the period en route to seven first-quarter points.
Although Manhattan outscored Yale 13–12 in the second quarter, the Elis still took a comfortable 37–23 lead into the locker room.
After a first half that saw Manhattan shoot just 22.2 percent, the Bulldog defense managed to clamp down even more on the Jaspers following the halftime break. Manhattan was held to just 13 points in the two quarters, including a sole successful jump shot out of 13 field-goal attempts in the third.
While Yale’s defensive effort certainly gave the team much to be happy about, the Bulldogs did struggle immensely at taking care of the ball, and Wyckoff described the offensive performance as sloppy. Yale committed 29 turnovers, the team’s highest total in six years dating back to a 31-turnover effort against Toledo on Nov. 29, 2009.
Since dropping to a season-low 12 turnovers against Fairleigh Dickinson a week and a half ago, Yale has turned over the ball 20.5 times per game in its last four contests.
“We are a very attack-minded team and we like to push in transition. Some of our turnovers were a result of difficult passes up-court that we can both do a better job passing and a better job catching,” Sarju said. “The turnovers we really cannot continue to have are the ones in the half court that are a result of not doing a good enough job faking passes and making good passes, and also of not coming to meet the ball with the ferocity necessary. We have to be more poised.”
Allen added that while turnovers are an inevitable part of the team’s playing style, reducing the number will be a top priority for the Bulldogs in their next game.
With less than five minutes remaining in the blowout victory, head coach Allison Guth substituted in two rookies, guard/forward Gabby Nelson ’19 and guard Paige Vermeer ’19, both of whom scored on a night in which every Eli who earned playing time contributed to Yale’s 62 points. For Vermeer, it was her first collegiate appearance and her first career point.
“It was extremely nerve-wracking, [but] I had the time of my life out there,” Vermeer said. “I felt so lucky to have the opportunity to step out on the court.”
But after a night during which Guth was able to empty her bench and see her team cruise to victory, her players understand there is still progress to be made.
Sarju noted that room for growth is a positive, especially after such a one-sided victory.
“It is exciting that even though tonight was a great win we still have so many areas which we can and must improve on,” Sarju said.
Yale will next play Army tomorrow at home in John J. Lee Amphitheater. The game tips off at 7 p.m.