For the bulk of its second home game of the season, the Yale women’s basketball team appeared to be in complete control in its 72–56 win over Saint Peter’s on Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs (5–5, 0–0 Ivy) opened the contest with 15 unanswered points as the first eight baskets came on six assists versus the Peahens (4–4, 0–0 MAAC). Sharing the ball well, out-rebounding their opponents 14–3 and dominating possession set the stage for an Eli victory coming off a seven-game road trip. Exploiting Saint Peter’s unassertive zone defense, Yale executed a near-perfect offensive performance against the Peahens in the opening quarter. By the end of the period, five Bulldogs found themselves on the score sheet. On three consecutive possessions, efficient ball movement and unselfish passing resulted in wide open three-pointers for guard Tori Andrew ’21 who ended the quarter with nine points.
“We started out really hot,” guard Roxy Barahman ’20 said. “Working together in the first half was really the key to getting ahead so early on.”
Forced to change their strategy, the Peahens switched to a man-on-man look only to have Barahman pick apart the defense on possession after possession. Barahman shot 6–11 from the field, finishing with 15 points — all of which came around the rim.
The Bulldogs have heavily relied on Barahman for offensive production in non-conference play. The floor general averages an Ivy League-best 21.4 points in over 36 minutes of action per game. Thanks to a strong performance from the bench, which pitched in 21 points on the night, the Bulldogs were able to limit Barahman to fewer than 30 minutes against Saint Peter’s.
To slow down the onslaught, the Peahens threw a high-pressure 2-2-1 press at the Bulldogs all game, forcing a season-worst 23 turnovers from Yale. But despite Saint Peter’s best efforts, the Elis cruised to a 40–21 advantage at the half.
“We definitely give credit to them,” forward Camilla Emsbo ’22 said. “They’ve been one of the better pressuring teams we’ve played so far.”
The three-point fourth quarter that cost them the game against Providence seemed to be a distant memory as the Bulldogs shot over 56 percent from the field against Saint Peter’s. Three players — Barahman, Emsbo and forward Alexandra Maund ’19 — finished in double-digits. Yale also had a season-high 18 assists against the Peahens, led by Barahman’s five.
“We’ve really been focusing on putting our shots in, and our practices over the past few days have paid off,” Emsbo added.
With 15 points and 10 rebounds, Emsbo contributed her second double-double of the season. The first-year starter has become a key piece in the Bulldogs’ offense and demonstrated her ability to be both a dominating inside presence and an outside threat. Against Saint Peter’s, Emsbo sunk her first points from beyond the arc in her young collegiate career, finishing 2–3 from long range.
On the other end, the Bulldog defense was stifling — for the most part. The Peahens shot just 30 percent and were limited to 10 points in the paint, but during a three-and-a-half minute stretch midway through the fourth quarter, they scored 12 straight points against a complacent Yale defense. Saint Peter’s guard Anna Maguire exposed some weaknesses in the Yale defense, particularly in guarding against baseline drives. During the Peahens’ 12–0 run, Maguire scored consecutive baseline threes.
“I thought we did some good things in our pack closing out early and solidifying defensive stops by grabbing boards, but we had some deficiencies in the fourth,” head coach Allison Guth said. “We were talking at the half about a 0-0 ballgame, and I’m disappointed we didn’t play to our level for the entirety of the game. We still believe that there’s another gear for us.”
The Bulldogs have five more non-conference matchups to work on defensive inconsistencies before the start of Ivy League play. After running through eight airports in ten days, the Bulldogs’ heavy travel schedule continues with four more games on the road this month.
On Thursday night, Yale followed its triumph over the Peahens with a 62–56 defeat to St. John’s at Carnesecca Arena. Emsbo led all scorers with 14 points.
Julianna Lai | firstname.lastname@example.org