Exactly 365 days after the Yale football team snapped its nine-year losing streak against Harvard, the Yale women’s basketball team will have the opportunity to make a little history of its own. The Bulldogs have not started a season 3–0 since 1998, but will have the opportunity to do so when they travel west on Sunday.
The Elis (2–0, 0–0 Ivy) will hit the road for a matchup against Kansas (2–0, 0–0 Big 12) at Allen Fieldhouse. After bombarding Colgate with 10 threes — seven of them coming in the first quarter of play — and using a full-court press to force the Raiders to turn over the ball 24 times, Yale will look to adjust its game plan to match up against the size and athleticism of the Jayhawks and leave Kansas with the first Eli road win of the year.
“We have to be smart with the type of athletes we’re facing on the road,” head coach Allison Guth said. “Kansas is really big; they’re huge. There’s going to be different things we have to do defensively against them.”
Yale’s contest against Colgate was over about as quickly as it started. Knocking down seven threes in just 10 minutes, the Bulldogs led 29–15 at the outset of the second quarter and coasted to the end of regulation. In a solid team win, there were numerous individual stand-out performances. Forward Jen Berkowitz ’18 led the way with 17 points and eight rebounds. Guard Tori Andrew ’21 finished with 12 points after knocking down four shots from beyond the arc, igniting the Eli offense and allowing the team to jump to an early lead. Guard Roxy Barahman ’20 took charge of the second unit and finished with a double-double after dropping 11 points and grabbing 11 boards.
But the Bulldogs still have plenty of room for improvement. After turning the ball over 13 times last game, Guth emphasized the value of possession. On the other side of the floor, the Bulldogs will look to solidify their defense after giving the Raiders 21 chances at the free throw line.
“We need to get better with communicating on defense,” Barahman said. “We have good help but we could be there better. Also, we need to limit the fouls.”
Like the Bulldogs, the Jayhawks are undefeated heading into Sunday’s matchup after a dominant two-game stretch on their home court. They are coming off of a 72–37 dismantling of Texas Southern last Wednesday, in which guard Kylee Kopatich led the Jayhawks’ offense with 19 points and four rebounds. Guards Christalah Lyons and Brianna Osorio also had solid scoring performances, netting 17 points and 15 points, respectively.
Against the Bulldogs, the Jayhawks will hold a significant height advantage. While Yale has five players on its roster listed at or above six foot, Kansas has eight such players. The Jayhawks have used their superior size to outrebound their opponents by a total of 19 so far this season. However, rebounding is not the only concern that the Bulldogs will face. The Jayhawks’ multifaceted backcourt also poses problems for opponents. Kopatich, has emerged as Kansas’ leading scorer and biggest two-way threat, averaging 20 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 3.5 assists per game. Lyons and Osorio will also keep Yale’s guards on their heels.
But these Jayhawk advantages may not matter if Yale shoots the three like it did against Colgate. On the inside, the Elis will look to Berkowitz to continue being a solid two-way presence in the paint. In addition, team rebounding will be a major point of emphasis against a taller team, and guards as well as forwards will have to give extra effort on the glass to secure possessions. Although giving up some height as a guard, Barahman has been the team’s leader on the boards so far, and the team will need her to continue her rebounding prowess against the Jayhawks.
“Our team is looking good so far,” guard Mary Ann Santucci ’18 said. “Things are definitely looking promising. Our first game was a little rough, but I thought we really started to show what we are capable of against Colgate. This will be a test for us, but it is 100 percent within our reach to beat Kansas.”
Yale will have just over 48 hours of rest after the contest in Lawrence, Kansas. The Bulldogs travel to Fort Worth to take on Texas Christian on Tuesday.
The game against the Jayhawks will tip off at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
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