The Yale women’s basketball team suffered its first loss in eight games as its historic winning streak came to an end at the hands of the Harvard Crimson. After suffering a defeat in Cambridge, the Elis returned to the win column with a 20-point win over Dartmouth.
Riding an eight-game winning streak, Yale (15–4, 5–1 Ivy) entered the tilt against Harvard (13–6, 4–2) with confidence and momentum. But the Crimson dealt an early blow to the Elis, outscoring them 18–8 in the first period of play. Nevertheless, the Bulldogs fought back and took a two point lead at the half. Although the Bulldogs began the final frame down just one point, the Crimson controlled the final five minutes of play enroute to a 66–57 win. The following day, the Blue and White once again found success against Dartmouth this season (7–12, 1–5) as it secured a 67–47 win.
“It was definitely disappointing to lose to Harvard,” guard Ellen Margaret Andrews ’21 said. “We felt prepared for what they were going to throw at us, but ultimately we beat ourselves on Friday by not rebounding adequately, making some critical defensive errors, and not playing to our offensive potential.”
The Elis struggled to find any sort of rhythm from the field in the early going against Harvard. In the first quarter, the Blue and White shot just 11.1 percent and went 0–5 from 3-point range. The Crimson, however, found lots of success in the paint as it built up a 10 point lead going into the second quarter.
Perhaps the most telling statistic of the night was the rebounding differential — Harvard pulled in 50 boards in comparison to Yale’s 27. Harvard’s ability to crash the boards led to 24 second-chance points. Despite the 23-rebound differential between the two teams, Yale is traditionally a strong team on the glass — its average rebounding margin for the season is 0.7.
In Cambridge, the Bulldogs were once again led by guard Roxy Barahman ’20 who tallied 21 points and five rebounds in the loss. Barahman currently sits at third overall in the Ancient Eight in scoring with 17.0 points per game. Apart from Barahman, Yale found the majority of its offensive production from Andrews and forward Camilla Emsbo ’22. Emsbo recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Despite efforts from key players, Yale was held to its lowest point total of the season on Friday night. The Elis went into the half up 31–29, but the game was quickly tied by Harvard in the third. The two teams would be knotted up another four times in the quarter before a series of missed shots allowed the Crimson to run away with a lead, from which the Bulldogs were unable to recover.
The following day, Yale took on Dartmouth in Hanover. Despite the loss against Harvard, which tarnished the Elis’ undefeated conference record, the Blue and White got off to a quick start. Guard Tori Andrew ’21 and Emsbo scored six points each as the Bulldogs jumped out to a 12–0 lead.
“Bouncing back after a Friday night loss can be tough, but we did a good job shifting our focus to the Dartmouth game,” captain and forward Megan Gorman ’20 said. “We worked on getting back to the things that make us good and doing them well. This mindset and focus helped us get the ‘W’ on Saturday night.”
Unlike Friday’s contest, the Elis won the rebounding battle with 34 boards in comparison to the Big Green’s 27. Yale’s defense also limited Dartmouth to just 32 percent shooting from the field.
The deciding factor in Saturday’s game was Emsbo’s play. The Colorado native netted a career-high 29 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter alone. The Big Green had no answer for Emsbo’s physical presence on the interior — the Bulldogs outscored Dartmouth 48–20 in the paint.
“My success last night was absolutely a product of my teammates really looking to get it inside and take advantage of the mismatch in the post,” Emsbo said. “And the loss to Harvard was a huge motivator. I think the way we bounced back says a lot about our growth from last year. In the past we have allowed those losses to get to us and send us into a slump, but we obviously didn’t let that happen last night.”
The Big Green worked its way up to a tie by the third quarter, but a pull-up jumper by Barahman initiated a 17–6 run that restored the Bulldogs’ lead to double digits. Similarly, in the last 10 minutes of the game, as Dartmouth got within six points, an Emsbo lay-up sparked a 10–0 run which secured the game for the Bulldogs. The victory over Dartmouth marks the third time Yale held its opponent to fewer than 50 points this season.
Sitting at 5–1 in the Ivy League standings, the Bulldogs now find themselves in second place behind Princeton. Princeton, who is currently riding a 13-game winning streak, visits New Haven this Friday to face off against the Bulldogs.
Yale will take on both Princeton and Penn at the John J. Lee Amphitheater this weekend. The Bulldogs play Princeton Friday at 6 p.m. and Penn Saturday at 4 p.m.
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