Following victories against Columbia and Cornell that extended the Bulldog’s record win streak to eight, the Yale women’s basketball team is now preparing to do what they haven’t done in eight years: defeat Harvard on their home court.
In addition to their perfect 4–0 conference record, the Elis (14–3, 4–0 Ivy) boast a strong 7–2 away record that will be put to the test against Harvard’s 6–2 home record at Lavietes Pavilion. The Crimson (11–6, 2–2) currently sits fourth in the Ancient Eight after splitting last weekend’s contests against the league’s preseason favorites: Penn and Princeton. Harvard took down Penn 58–51 on Friday but failed to snap the Tigers’ 11-game winning streak the following day. In another weekend of back-to-back games, the Bulldogs will travel directly from Cambridge to Hanover to face off against Dartmouth (7–10, 1–3) who lost by over 30 points against Princeton and Penn last week.
“We’re looking forward to playing Harvard on their home court and shutting them down offensively,” forward Alex Cade ’21 said. “We have been working on our shots and understand that we need to stay confident going into this game. As a team, we are continuing to work on staying calm and collected even when we run into adversity, like we did at Cornell.”
After cruising past Columbia 85–60, the Bulldogs found their match in Ithaca against the Big Red. Despite a 14-point deficit at the half, the Blue and White mounted an impressive comeback to score a 74–67 win.
Guard Roxy Barahman ’20, who was named Ivy League Player of the Week, fueled the Bulldogs’ comeback against Cornell over the weekend. With eight points in the fourth quarter alone, Barahman was an integral part of the Elis’ win and ensured that their win streak would not be broken.
Harvard is led by first-year guard Lola Mullaney, who averages 15.3 points per game. Mullaney ranks sixth overall in scoring in the Ancient Eight, behind Barahman and forward Camilla Emsbo ’22, among others. Although Mullaney is the Crimson’s only player averaging double-digits, senior forward Jeannie Boehm nearly averages a double-double per game, with 9.8 points and 10.2 boards.
Last season, the Elis won one of two contests against the Crimson. The first, a 65–62 win at home, featured one of the most memorable moments in recent Yale basketball history. With time about to expire, Barahman nailed a half-court shot to lead the Elis to victory. The second meeting later on in the season was, however, a different story. Harvard outscored the Blue and White 52–27 in the first half as the Crimson cruised to a comfortable 14-point victory.
“We split with Harvard last year, and they ended up making the tournament over us, so we have a bit of a chip on our shoulder coming into the weekend,” guard Tori Andrew ’21 said. “We’ve been talking about how these games are games you don’t get back and could end up being the deciding factor on whether we get into the tournament or not at the end of the season.”
As the Bulldogs get deeper into conference play, each game feels increasingly important as teams vie for one of four coveted spots in the Ivy League Tournament.
Although Dartmouth currently ranks last in offensive production in the Ancient Eight, they opened conference play with a memorable 63–62 win against Harvard. In that game, the Big Green had three players in double-digits, including 19 points from sophomore guard Katie Douglas.
After the narrow win against Harvard, Dartmouth has gone cold; it lost by 15 in its second meeting with the Crimson and fell by over 30 to Princeton and Penn.
Dartmouth leads Yale 54–30 in the all-time series dating back to 1974, but is 4–16 against the Bulldogs in the past decade. The Elis haven’t won both games in a season against the Big Green since 2017, but hopes are high this year.
“This year, the Ivy title and the four tournament spots feel especially up for grabs,” guard Ellen Margaret Andrews ’21 said. “The league is just so strong overall … a really exciting time with no assured results. On our end, we just have to treat each game like an Ivy championship.”
ESPN’s Bracketology with Charlie Creme projects Yale to make the NCAA as a No. 12 seed. In addition, Yale has moved up to No. 36 in recent NCAA RPI rankings. Princeton also ranked No. 36 the year they became the only Ivy League team to make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large selection. Wins against Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend, who rank No. 123 and No. 169 respectively, will be crucial in realizing tournament aspirations.
The Bulldogs take on Harvard Friday at 5 p.m. in Cambridge before travelling to Hanover to play Dartmouth at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Both games can be streamed live on ESPN+.
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