Yale Athletics

After a heartbreaking loss to Providence, the Yale women’s basketball team will look to rebound when it hits the road for its longest stretch away from home this campaign.

After struggling to execute in the last few minutes of the Providence contest and letting a late advantage slip away, the Bulldogs (3–3, 0–0 Ivy) take on Binghamton (4–3, 0–0 America East) on Dr. Bai Lee Court this weekend. Both teams come into the matchup looking to regain some momentum after suffering close losses in their last contests.

“Providence came in here, did some really good things offensively, stuck to their guns by playing a pack-line, sagging-man defense,” head coach Allison Guth said. “We struggled with shooting the ball. Hopefully we’ll figure that out.”

After coming out of the gates strong against Providence on Wednesday — starting the game off on a 5–0 run —Yale quickly cooled off and had surrendered its lead by the end of the first ten minutes of play. Despite the Friars’ hot shooting, the Elis kept themselves in the game by forcing 14 first-half turnovers, as they only trailed by three at the half. But, despite a nine-steal effort by Bulldog guard Tamara Simpson ’18, Yale came up short, as the Friars rode a late 11–3 run to victory.

According to Guth, the Elis need to work on their execution in late-game situations. This is something that they will look to improve upon this week in practice with hopes of preventing games from slipping away from them in crunch time.

“Down the stretch we need to make plays and get rebounds,” guard Roxy Barahman ’20 said. “That’s really what we need to do.”

This season, the Bearcat offense is led by guard Imani Watkins, who is averaging 19.7 points, 3.9 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.4 steals through seven games. Another leader on the court this season is guard Kai Moon. The Illinois native is second on her team in scoring, averaging 13.4 points and 5.3 boards per game. Moon is coming off a career performance against Bucknell in which she scored 23 points on eight-of-13 shooting from the field and three-of-five shooting from downtown.

Against Bucknell on Wednesday, Binghamton suffered a tough 64–59 loss. The Bearcats trailed for much of the fourth quarter before staging a late rally that fell just short. Binghamton has had a challenging schedule thus far, with two of its seven matchups coming against defending conference champions, including Bucknell, which finished at the top of the Patriot League last season, with a commanding 16–2 record. The Bearcats also won a close 77-72 match against Penn, the reigning Ivy League champion. The Bearcats’ proven ability to compete against the top teams in the nation could prove to be a measuring stick for the Bulldogs’ potential moving forward.

“Binghamton is a solid team who we need to respect, but we feel confident that if we play our game we should come out with a win,” said guard Megan Gorman ’20. Every game brings new set of challenges and each team brings a different skill set and scheme. Binghamton is no different. They have a few strong players that we need to respect and are focused on defending together.”

The Bulldogs also faced off against the Bearcats in their season opener last season, a matchup in which Yale prevailed by a score of 57–48. The Elis received contributions from forward Jen Berkowitz ’18, who scored nine points on an efficient four-of-six shooting while securing six boards. The Bulldogs will look for another solid performance from Berkowitz against the Bearcats and bounce back from a rough night shooting from the field against the Friars. Despite her struggles last game, she ranks third in the Ivy League in field goal percentage, shooting 52.9 percent.

Simpson also added 12 points and six rebounds against Binghamton last season, and the team will look for her to continue her high level of play this season, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. Simpson leads the team in three categories with 16.8 points, 3.2 assists and 3.8 steals per game. Her average of 3.8 steals per game is also tops in the conference at this point.

The matchup against Binghamton could feature a fast-paced contest with a flurry of three-point shots from both teams. Yale averages 23.2 attempts from long range per game, while the Bearcats shoot 26.7 shots from beyond the arc per game. Yale will focus on defending the perimeter and establish a rhythm shooting from the outside on offense, as the Bearcats boast strong defensive presences in the post. Bearcat center Alyssa James is second in the nation with 4.7 blocks per game, while the team as a whole is third in the nation with 8.7 blocks per contest.

“For the road trip, we first and foremost want to win,” Gorman said. “Other than that, we want to use every game to grow and improve. Ultimately, we want to use these pre-Ivy season games to get us ready for Ivy League play.”

The game against the Bearcats will tip off at 12 p.m. on Saturday.

Jimmy Chen | jimmy.chen@yale.edu

Cristofer Zillo | cris.zillo@yale.edu