After both teams had warmed up for the third quarter of play, the Yale women’s basketball opener against Providence was suspended due to a scoreboard malfunction, with the Elis down by nine points. As the two teams seek a mutually agreed-upon date to continue the game, the Bulldogs turn their eyes toward in-state rival Quinnipiac.
Last Tuesday, Yale (0–0, 0–0 Ivy) faced off against Providence (1–0, 0–0 Big East) in what promised to be a challenging game for the Elis. The Friars have qualified for the Big Dance for three consecutive years and enter the season with expectations of a deep postseason run. Before play was suspended, the Bulldogs struggled to find an answer for Providence’s offensive firepower. Led by preseason All-Big East selection Mary Baskerville, the Friars found success both in the paint and beyond the arc. Although the Elis appeared outmatched in the first half, they have an opportunity to gain more experience as a team before finishing the contest later on in the season. Their first opportunity comes on Wednesday, as the Bulldogs face off against Quinnipiac (0–1, 0–0 MAAC).
“I have never been a part of something so strange in all my years of playing basketball,” captain Megan Gorman ’20 said. “It’s a weird feeling to leave a game that is only halfway through. Playing the second half in a month will be very interesting, but for the time being we are focused on the next game and doing what we can to improve every day.”
Early in the game, both the Elis and the Friars seemed to be shaking off a bit of rust. Both teams committed a number of turnovers in the initial minutes. Providence, however, soon settled down and built up a lead. Powered by performances from guard Ellen Margaret Andrews ’21 and forward Alex Cade ’21, the Bulldogs cut the deficit to a mere three points by the end of the quarter.
In the following frame, the Elis encountered some foul trouble as both Andrews and Cade got called for their second violations. In the wake of these struggles, the Friars extended their lead once again thanks to Baskerville’s strong interior play and guard Kaela Webb’s sharp shooting from three-point range. Cade reentered the game later in the quarter and helped spark a run that narrowed the margin to nine points at the half.
“We were not happy with how we played against [Providence] in the first half, offensively and defensively,” Cade said. “As a team, we know we weren’t doing the little things right and that really hurt us, but we’re excited and happy that we get to learn from the first half and be able to finish the game … We’re confident that we are better than the first two quarters and that we can come out with a win.”
Although the scoreboard malfunction was not the start that the Elis envisioned for the season, the team is looking to refocus and turn their attention to Quinnipiac, a perennial MAAC power. The Bobcats posted a perfect 18–0 record last year and will serve as another early challenge for the Bulldogs.
Because of its three straight MAAC championships, Quinnipiac has made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament each of the past three years. In their 2018 season, the Bobcats made it to the second round of the tournament before falling to No. 1 Connecticut. In the preceding season Quinnipiac became just the fourth No. 12 seed to advance to the Sweet 16. However, this past season the team fell to South Dakota State in the first round.
The Bobcats boast an impressive resume, and this year they have already been picked to finish second in the preseason MAAC poll. Yet all five starters from last season have graduated, which may have contributed to the team’s defeat in its season opener against Drexel. Despite the narrow loss, the Bobcats did showcase impressive new talent with first years Sajada Bonner and Cur’Tiera Haywood tallying 10 and eight points respectively.
Yale has built an impressive team of its own this year, led by Gorman, who was named MVP of Florida Atlantic’s Holiday Classic while playing in her home state last December. Senior guard Roxy Barahman ’20 finished first in the Ivy League and 47th nationally in points per game last season, and five-star ESPN recruit Camilla Emsbo ’22 was a seven-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week in the 2018–19 season.
This year will resume the rivalry which stretched every season from 2000 to 2012, with the 2012 contest marking the largest margin of victory for the Bobcats. Both Yale and Quinnipiac are looking to add some momentum to this season after their disappointing starts.
“Since the Providence game’s unexpected suspension, our team has been itching to get back on the court and play all four quarters at a really high level,” Andrews said. “Our team is so deep and dedicated this year, and I think we’re just really looking to play to our potential and see all of our hard work pay off against Quinnipiac.”
The Elis host Quinnipiac at the John J. Lee Amphitheater this Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Drew Beckmen | email@example.com
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