After a triumphant comeback against Providence that extended the Bulldogs’ winning streak to three, the Yale women’s basketball team will now shift its focus to games against St. John’s, Sacred Heart and UNC.
On Tuesday night, the Elis (6–2, 0–0 Ivy) played the second half of their game against Providence (5–1, 0–0 Big East), which was suspended after a scoreboard malfunction at John J. Lee Amphitheater on Nov. 5. Despite beginning Tuesday’s contest down by nine points, the Bulldogs staged a remarkable comeback. Down by as many as 17 points in the third quarter, the Elis, led by top scorers Ellen Margaret Andrews ’21 and Roxy Barahman ’20, went on a 26–4 run en route to an 82–79 win. In the next two weeks, the Blue and White will host St. John’s (4–3, 0–0 Big East) and Sacred Heart (3–5, 0–0 NEC) before traveling to Raleigh to take on UNC (6–0, 0–0 ACC).
“We’ve improved a lot since our first meeting with Providence, and I think we all knew that we were the better team and just had the confidence going down the stretch,” Baraham said. “We came up with a lot of big defensive plays that helped in our comeback.”
After two wins at the LMU Thanksgiving Classic in California, the Bulldogs returned home with the momentum they needed to complete the comeback against the Friars. Andrews, who played just five games in the 2018—19 campaign before suffering a season-ending injury, has emerged as one of the teams most consistent and prolific scorers. In the Elis’ loss to UCLA, Andrews scored a career-high 22 points. But on Tuesday, the guard scored 16 second-half points to give her a new career high of 23 points.
During the first half of the Nov. 5 game, the Bulldogs also struggled with a number of injuries. Barahman, still recovering from an injury that kept her out the majority of preseason, missed all six shots she took. Guard Tori Andrew ’21 watched from the sidelines for the entirety of the first half as she continued to recover from an injury of her own. However, on Tuesday, both Barahman and Andrew were healthy, which was critical to Yale’s success. Barahman shot 50 percent from the field to finish with 19 points, and Andrew played all but one minute of the half.
The Blue and White’s remarkable comeback was not without drama. After a three-pointer from Andrews put the Elis up two points with 5:18 remaining, the pair of teams went back and forth for the rest of the game. With under two minutes left in the contest, the Friars hit a pair of free throws to make it a one possession game.
On the ensuing Yale possession, the Bulldogs committed an offensive foul and gave the visitors an opportunity to tie the game, but the Bulldog defense stood strong, forcing the Friars to commit a turnover. As forward Alex Cade ’21 grabbed the loose ball, the crowd exploded into life. Andrews sealed the win with two free throws shortly thereafter.
“It felt great to pull off the comeback,” Andrews said. “We always felt like it was possible, but knew we’d have to execute on offense and especially on defense in order to do it. Providence is a great team, so to finish on top under such unconventional circumstances was both an exciting and funny feeling.”
The Elis will stay at home for their next two games, starting with Friday’s matchup against St. John’s. The Red Storm’s season got off to an optimistic start when, for the first time since winning the 2016 Big East Championship, the school was projected to finish second in the conference. This is a high bar to meet for the Johnnies who finished eighth in their conference only a year ago. Nevertheless, this year’s team is packed with powerhouse players — guards Tiana England and Qadashah Hoppie made the preseason all-league team. In addition, guard Leilani Correa was recently named the Big East’s Freshman of the Week for the second time this season.
After winning three of their first four games, the Johnnies were not able to carry over their momentum to the West Coast. The Red Storm recently returned from the Lady Rebel Round-Up Tournament in Las Vegas where it lost both its games against IUPUI and UNLV. The team will be looking to get its season back on track as it heads to New Haven.
Following the St. John’s game, the Bulldogs take on Sacred Heart. The school recently suffered a crushing 71–44 defeat against Saint Joseph’s, bringing the Pioneers to a total of five losses for the season. In this most recent defeat, the team shot just 25.6 percent while sending its opponent to the free throw line 30 times. Four days earlier the Pioneers fell in a similar 72-49 loss against Nebraska.
If Yale is able to build on its recent successes in its next two games, it should be in good standing by the time it takes on the Tar Heels at the end of the month. UNC played in the NCAA tournament last year and has already kicked off this season with a seven-game winning streak.
“We’re feeling confident yet humble,” Cade said. “Providence has given us confidence that we can be calm and composed when down by a large margin and come through with the win in tight situations. We’re excited to play another game against a team in the Big East.”
Yale hosts St. John’s this evening at 7 p.m at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.
Drew Beckmen | firstname.lastname@example.org
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