Despite a furious comeback that erased a 15-point Brown lead in under three minutes, the Yale women’s basketball team was unable to complete the season sweep of the Bears and suffered its first overtime loss of the season.
The Bulldogs (8–7, 1–1 Ivy) traveled to Providence to take on the Bears (13–2, 1–1) in the Pizzitola Sports Center on Friday having been beaten 77–63 in New Haven last week. Despite struggling for most of the game, Yale managed to come back and force overtime. However, the team’s momentum soon faltered, and the Bears outscored the Elis 15–5 in overtime, beating Yale 81–71 to split the season series 1–1.
“We believe in fighting until the last tick of the clock,” head coach Allison Guth said. “Under five being down 15 we had a gut check moment and had a choice to battle or lay down. I’m proud of the way we battled, however it needs to be for 40 minutes.”
Brown’s gameplan was clear right from the tip, as it looked to push the tempo and get the ball up the floor quickly. Energy and hustle allowed the Bears to get easy layups off made baskets by the Elis. Seven of Brown’s 16 points in the first quarter came as second chance buckets, as the Bulldogs struggled to grab boards. Yale’s offensive struggles — they shot an abysmal 26 percent from the field in the first 10 minutes of play — allowed the Bears to jump out to a quick 16–11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter began with a three from guard Tori Andrew ’21, whose appearance in Friday’s game marked her second game played since injuring herself early in this year’s campaign. The Elis relied heavily on the outside shot in the second quarter, neglecting the paint and attempting no shots at the free throw line in the entire first half. Despite mediocre results, only shooting 4–13 from deep in the quarter, Yale found itself only down four points at the half.
The Bears came out of the locker room looking to put the Bulldogs away. They continued to push the pace even after made shots by Yale, giving the team easy transition baskets in the paint. Despite shooting an unimpressive 37 percent in the first half, the Bears made eight of their first 15 shots in the third quarter. The 3–2 zone, designed to prevent outside shooting, continued to give the Elis shooting woes in what turned out to be a role reversal for the two teams from the previous matchup. After a missed layup by the Bulldogs, the Bears outletted down the court for a layup to end the quarter, giving Yale a 51–41 deficit to begin the final quarter.
The Elis found themselves down by 15 points with about five minutes to go in the final quarter of regulation. However, Yale refused to give up, switching to a full court press and going on an exhilarating run. Guard Tamara Simpson ’18 netted two threes from long distance before forward Ellen Margaret Andrews ’21 added another three points with a huge and-one layup, cutting the 15-point deficit to eight. In transition off a Brown miss, Andrews found forward Jen Berkowitz ’18 inside for a another score.
The starting first year continued her role in the comeback with a clutch triple that was followed by another three from classmate Andrew. In combination with the Bulldogs shifting to a full-court press and man-to-man defense in the half-court set, the pair of baskets from downtown capped a 17–2 run that tied the game at 64. Neither team could make another decisive run, and eventually the game went to overtime.
“We played with a very high intensity down the stretch and executed well,” forward Megan Gorman ’20 said. “We shifted our defensive scheme to a more pressure oriented man to man and forced them to turn the ball over or take tough shots. On the offensive end we pushed in transition and had some girls knock down big shots. Two freshmen both hit huge [3-pointers] and [Simpson] was able to knock down two free-throws to tie it up.”
In the extra period, the Bulldogs seemed to run out of steam after completing their impressive fourth quarter comeback. The Bears opened overtime with a 8–0 run after attacking the basket on several drives that led to free throws. The Brown zone defense resumed giving the Bulldogs heaps of trouble on the offensive end. With 1:08 left in the overtime, Berkowitz finally broke the Yale scoring drought, but the Bears had all but sealed the game away at that point.
Despite coming up short in overtime, a few Bulldogs had standout performances. Berkowitz posted a double-double after dropping 21 points and grabbing 10 boards in 43 minutes. Simpson demonstrated her astounding versatility after scoring 11 points, tallying five assists, notching six steals and grabbing four rebounds.
The Bears received key contributions from forward Janie White, who had a double-double with 17 points and 12 boards, while guard Justine Gaziano led all Brown scorers with 20 points.
“Playing away is always tough, and I think we let our missed opportunities at the rim affect us for the rest of the game,” guard Roxy Barahman ’20 said. “We lost some confidence early when our shots weren’t going down.”
The Elis will travel to Cambridge to take on rival Harvard next Friday.
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