Trailing 49–41 after three quarters, the Yale women’s basketball team stormed to a dramatic 64–60 victory over University of California-Santa Barbara to win its final nonconference game of the season.
After suffering a 102–44 thrashing by No. 13 Stanford on Wednesday, the Bulldogs (9–4, 0–0 Ivy) bounced back behind a spirited final period in which they held the Gauchos (5–8, 0–0 Big West) to just 11 points and retook the lead with just 42 seconds remaining in the game. Guards Meghan McIntyre ’17 and Lena Munzer ’17 combined for 21 points in the second half to lead the Elis, who faced a 12-point deficit late in the third quarter. Munzer contributed seven rebounds — including five offensive boards — and five assists in addition to her game-high 18 points.
Yale had a 15–12 edge after the first quarter but soon relinquished its lead. The Bulldogs struggled on the glass for much of the game and were outrebounded in the first half, 20–13. But they were able to pull in 19 rebounds in the second half to the Gauchos’ 18, an improvement that helped key their eventual comeback.
The two squads ended up close to even in many of the major statistical categories and converted the same number of field goals, but the Elis were able to deliver in the game’s key moments. Forward and captain Elizabeth Haley ’17 scored four crucial baskets in the final period for the bulk of her season-high 10 points. After Munzer drained a three-pointer with 1:25 to play to bring Yale within one, Santa Barbara turned the ball over after a timeout, and Haley hit a layup to give the Bulldogs a 61–60 lead with 42 seconds left in the contest. The Eli defense held the Gauchos scoreless for nearly two and a half minutes to finish the game.
Yale now enters a two-week stretch without any games and will use practice time to prepare for a daunting opening weekend of Ivy League play on the road against defending conference champion Penn and runner-up Princeton on Jan. 13 and 14, respectively. After winning their first two league games last season, the Bulldogs suffered a nine-game conference losing streak in the middle of the Ivy campaign.
After a 9–8 nonconference record last season in head coach Allison Guth’s first year with the team, the Elis’ last-minute comeback gave them a 9–4 mark to complete this season’s nonconference slate.