Due to an imminent snowstorm, the second weekend of Ivy play will start a day early for the Yale women’s basketball team. The Bulldogs will travel to Rhode Island on Friday to once again face Brown, six days after an 81–54 win over the Bears.
After their impressive all-around victory last Saturday, the Bulldogs (10–8, 1–0 Ivy) are looking to prevent a letdown in the rematch against a Brown team (12–3, 0–1) seeking revenge.
“We know that each game is different and that we won’t necessarily have another easy win,” captain Whitney Wyckoff ’16 said. “We haven’t let up on our intensity for that reason, and are just as focused as the first time around.”
Yale, coming off a preseason marked by highly regarded opponents, showed its offensive prominence in its opening conference game. Guard Nyasha Sarju ’16, currently ranked as the second-highest scorer in the Ivy League, led the team with 14 points for her 15th double-digit finish this season. Sarju was not alone in contributing offensively, as 11 of the 13 Elis that saw action scored in the blowout victory.
The Bulldogs not only dominated the scoreboard, but also outrebounded their opponents 52–24. Brown trailed throughout the entire contest, despite its best efforts to snap a six-game losing streak against the Bulldogs.
Last weekend’s defeat was only the Bears’ third loss of the season, which comes after a disappointing 10–18 campaign a year ago. Brown has also won all seven of its home games this year, while Yale has yet to win a single one of its six road contests thus far.
“It’s a really strong Brown team this year,” guard Mary Ann Santucci ’18 said. “They have already won more games this year than they did in the entirety of their season last year.”
Despite their 27-point win, the Elis will need to stay sharp in order to open up 2–0 in league play, as Brown features three players that average double-digit scoring. Shayna Mehta, in particular, stands out as a perimeter threat as she leads the Ivy League in three-point shooting at 48.2 percent. She had 16 points in last Saturday’s game, while Jordin Alexander followed closely behind with 12 points to help pace the Bear offense.
The two combined to knock down three of seven three-point attempts, but the rest of the team struggled, making just one of eight shots from beyond the arc. If Yale can again contain Brown’s three-point shooting — the Bears are still shooting 35.1 percent after struggling, third-best in the Ivy League — it will go a long way toward another victory.
Also, Brown leads the league in field-goal percentage, at a 43.3 percent clip, and steals, with an average of 11.0 per game. Yale finds itself ranked fifth at 40.0 percent shooting from the field and it sits second with an average of 9.2 steals per contest.
With only six days to prepare for their rematch, players used practice to work on cutting down turnovers after committing 19 in the prior meeting, as well as refining the team’s defensive game plan.
“Offensively, we are focused on valuing the ball and making the most out of each possession, while continuing to execute our sets and get offensive rebounds,” Wyckoff said. “Defensively, we are looking to stop them in transition and keeping them out of the middle.”
This Friday’s matchup comes in the form of a doubleheader with the men’s basketball team, as the looming snowstorm Jonas prompted both games to be pushed up from Saturday. This has not affected the team’s mentality, however; according to Santucci, players are enthusiastic about the game regardless of its date.
The Bulldogs are hoping to maintain their winning streak in Providence, where they have not lost a game since the 2009–10 season.
“I think a strength going into this game is just our style of play,” forward Jen Berkowitz ’18 said. “We play very up-tempo and pressure basketball, which Brown struggled with last game.”
Tipoff on the road is set for 5:30 p.m.