After suffering a narrow 70–67 defeat in overtime against Colgate last weekend, the Yale women’s basketball team will vie for its first road victory of the season against UMass Lowell this Thursday.
All has not gone according to the plan for the Elis (1–1, 0–0 Ivy) in their start to the campaign. Their opening game against Providence was suspended due to a scoreboard malfunction at the half with Yale down 42–33. The Bulldogs regained footing with a triumphant victory against MAAC powerhouse Quinnipiac, but were unsuccessful in their attempt to add a second win against Colgate on Saturday. As the team returns to action this week, it hopes to build momentum against the River Hawks (0–4, 0–0 American East) before heading westward for a tournament in California during Thanksgiving break.
“Since our disappointing game against Colgate, we’ve rebounded well in practice and really focused in on fixing our deficiencies,” guard Ellen Margaret Andrews ’21 said. “We’re hoping to play to our potential against UMass Lowell and be especially strong on defense, which was our main weak spot against Colgate.”
The River Hawks have yet to achieve a single win four games into their 2019–20 season. The team lost its opener against Boston College by 43 points. An 11–2 first quarter run by the Eagles shut the River Hawks out of the contest from the start. Their play did not improve against Colgate either as the Raiders crushed the Lowell side by a score of 73–51.
The River Hawks then suffered a 74–58 defeat at the hands of in-state rival UMass Amherst. According to Lowell Head Coach Tom Garrick, his side got off to a “lethargic” first quarter start and never recovered. On Sunday, the Kansas Jayhawks handed Lowell its fourth defeat of the season. The Jayhawks dominated throughout the contest and maintained a lead of at least 15 points throughout the second half. As the Bulldogs take on the River Hawks for the third time in program history and the first time since 2014, their opponents will be itching for a win to rescue their season.
For the Elis, the contest against Lowell is an opportunity to gain valuable experience as a team before heading off to the Golden State for the LMU Thanksgiving Classic. In their first full game of the season, the Bulldogs displayed the team’s potential in a resounding win against Quinnipiac. The Bobcats, who posted a perfect 18–0 record in conference play last year, challenged the Blue and White, but a strong defensive effort and 23 points from guard Roxy Barahman ’20 propelled the team to victory.
“I think it was a great first win for us, as Quinnipiac has typically has a very high RPI and has made it to the NCAA tournament in previous years,” Barahman said. “We definitely showed our strengths with our ability to pull out a win in a very close game and our ability to play as a team with our high number of assists.”
Besides Barahman, the Elis have relied on Andrews, forward Camilla Emsbo ’22 and guard Tori Andrew ’21 as their main sources of offensive production. Against Colgate, Andrew led the squad with 20 points and Emsbo recorded a double-double. Emsbo, a 6-foot-5, five-star recruit from Lakewood, Colorado, contributes to the Bulldogs’ success on both sides of the ball. A tall, physical presence, Emsbo controls the paint on offense and grabs critical rebounds for the Elis on defense.
Despite the River Hawks’ underwhelming start to the season, the team is filled with young talent. Three out of the team’s four leading scorers are first years. Denise Solis, who hails from the Nutmeg State, tallied 18 points against Colgate and 17 points against UMass Amherst. Solis, along with fellow rookies Shamyjha Price and Jaliena Sanchez, account for over half of the River Hawks’ total points this season.
“Our focus the past week has been defense … defensively, we’ve worked on helping each other and going over our defensive positions,” forward Alex Cade ’21 said. “Offensively, we felt as though we were taking okay shots, but we want the best shot, and to do so, we need to make the extra pass and have worked on that as well.”
Thursday’s game tips off at 7 p.m. and will be streamed live on ESPN+.
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