While most Yalies were away from campus on winter break, the Yale women’s basketball team added an impressive four-game winning streak to its record.
As they look ahead to the start of Ivy play, the Bulldogs now have seven wins from their past eight games. In early December, the Elis (10–3, 0–0 Ivy) took on St. John’s (10–7, 3–3 Big East) in their only loss of the holiday season. Despite the defeat against the Red Storm, the Elis took a week off before claiming their largest margin of victory since 1981 in their fixture against Sacred Heart (6–8, 3–0 Northeast). After the historic 87–40 win, the Bulldogs traveled to Chapel Hill and tallied an impressive 66–63 victory over UNC (12–4, 3–2 ACC). The Blue and White built on this momentum with two more wins against Wagner (4–10, 0–3 Northeast) and Mercer (3–14, 0–0 Southern). With 10 wins, the Bulldogs now match the 1976–77 squad for the best record after 13 games.
“I think one of the biggest reasons we’ve done so well so far has been because of how hard we’ve worked in practice,” said guard Ellen Margaret Andrews ’21. “Each day we’ve been really focused on getting better, and have been able to execute what we’ve worked on when game time comes.”
With two packed weeks of games behind them— including a road trip to California — the Bulldogs struggled to take control against St. John’s. Although the Red Storm secured an early 13-point lead, the Elis tightened the margin to just four points by the half. The Bulldogs cut the deficit to one multiple times during the third quarter, but a run by the Johnnies in the final frame secured the 80–66 win for the Red Storm.
After the St. John’s loss, the Bulldogs made a definitive statement against Sacred Heart. Backed by a strong defensive effort, the Elis held the Pioneers to 25 percent from the field on their way to a crushing 87–40 win. After the first quarter, the Blue and White led 24–12 and never looked back. By the final buzzer, the Bulldogs had amassed a 47-point lead, Yale’s largest margin of victory since the 1981 team’s 82–30 win against St. Bonaventure.
The Elis then added to their resume with a win against power-five opponent UNC on the road. After tipoff, the Bulldogs immediately knocked UNC on its heels and built up a commanding 21–9 lead. But the Tar Heels responded with a run of their own. Although UNC’s 18–5 run dealt a serious blow to the Bulldogs, there was no sign of defeat in any of the players. With strong defense and timely baskets down the stretch, the Blue and White retook the lead and sealed the 66–63 victory — one of the more memorable in recent program history.
“At UNC, we really had to buckle down and play our defense,” forward Alex Cade ’21 said. “We had confidence that we could beat UNC going into the game, we knew we had to execute and we knew not to let their name intimidate us.”
Yale returned home for its final two games over the holiday recess. After scoring 24 points against UNC and earning Ivy League Player of the Week honors, Andrews again led the team in scoring in the victory against Wagner. With 22 points in the game and 199 points on the season, Andrews is proving that she is one of the premier players in the Ivy League. Andrews joins forward Camilla Emsbo ’22 and guard Roxy Barahman ’20 as the top three scorers on the team, and all three are among the top six scorers in the Ivy League this season.
Emsbo and Barahman led the squad to a 68–60 win against Mercer two days later. In addition to scoring 17 points, Barahman provided plenty of pressure on the defensive end. Her ability to control the opposing teams’ guards throughout the season has been crucial for the Bulldogs thus far and will undoubtedly be a factor when Ivy play kicks off.
“We’re really excited heading into Ivy play,” Cade said. “Over the break, we’ve been focusing on player development which has made us more confident going into Ivies.”
The Blue and White will look to extend its winning streak this Friday when it takes on Brown in its first conference game.
Drew Beckmen | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sophie Kane | email@example.com