Sam Rubin

Seeking crucial wins, the Yale women’s basketball team travels to Leede Arena to face Dartmouth on Friday and to Lavietes Pavilion to face Harvard on Saturday.

The Bulldogs (15–8, 5–3 Ivy) are in the midst of a crowded field atop the Ivy League standings. After suffering a setback last Saturday, following a 43–41 loss to Cornell (9–10, 3–5), third-place Yale needs to pick up important wins against the Big Green (10–11, 3–5) and the Crimson (12–9, 5–3), who are both hot on the Elis’ heels and currently sit in fifth and fourth place, respectively.

“It’s all about playing to our strengths, sharing the ball inside and out and bringing the defensive intensity,” head coach Allison Guth said. “We’ve been doing some combo work on both teams to work on getting the ball inside and working out of those double teams we’re anticipating.”

The Big Green are coming off of consecutive losses, after falling to top-seeded Penn and second-place Princeton last weekend. Guard Cy Lippold, the league’s second-best shooter from long-range, knocked down five three-pointers in the 60–44 loss to Penn. The Big Green’s top scorer, forward Isalys Quiñones, dropped 22 on 7–11 shooting against Princeton and went 3–4 from beyond the arc.

Yale came out on top 64–49 in its first match-up with Dartmouth on Feb. 2, largely thanks to excellent ball-sharing that resulted in a season-high 19 team assists and a quick start. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 22–12 lead to close the first quarter and never looked back. Forward Alex Cade ’21 turned in a strong performance, tallying 15 points and 14 boards, while forward Camilla Emsbo ’22 pitched in 15 points and six rebounds of her own.

“We have to focus on one game at a time because we didn’t take care of business last week against Cornell,” Guth said. “We’ve talked about what a huge weekend this is for us in terms of setting the tone and getting back into the win column.”

The second night of the back-to-back will feature the eagerly anticipated rematch between Ancient Eight rivals Harvard and Yale. The Crimson are craving revenge after being dismissed at the buzzer, following point guard Roxy Barahman’s ’20 wild half-court Hail Mary to win the game 65–62. Harvard has since run hot-and-cold, and the team has not been able to win more than once in a row. After a narrow loss at home against the Tigers, the Crimson upset Penn in a double-OT thriller with balanced scoring. Four players scored in the double-digits for Harvard, and the squad collected 19 assists in the win. Harvard leads the conference in assists, averaging over 16 a game.

Against the Crimson’s talented guards, the Bulldogs will look to pound the ball inside and generate the same post production that they did in the first game of the series. In the 65–62 win, Barahman struggled, shooting just 5–17 for 14 points, but forward Alexandra Maund ’19 was a dominant presence, coming off the bench for 17 points and eight rebounds on 8–11 shooting.

Just two games later, Maund scored a career-high 18 points while grabbing 11 boards in Yale’s 96–86 overtime win at Princeton. Maund is on pace for career highs in both points and rebounds per game averages in her senior season.

“Maund came in with a real fierceness, packing it in off the bounce and facing up last time against Harvard,” Guth said. “But they’re a well-coached team, and we’re going to see some adjustments from them. For us, we’ll be focusing on closing out against their three-point shooters and making sure they don’t get too comfortable shooting the ball and pushing it in transition. I always think Harvard is a different team at home.”

Harvard and Yale are the top two rebounding teams in the Ivy League. The Bulldogs are ranked fifth in the nation in defensive rebounding.

Julianna Lai | julianna.lai@yale.edu