After entering the weekend tied for third in the Ivy standings, the Yale women’s basketball team scored a victory against Cornell before falling to Columbia.
The Bulldogs (16–7, 6–4 Ivy) hosted Cornell (9–13, 2–8) on Friday in a critical contest that tested the Elis resolve after dropping games against Princeton and Penn last weekend. The Blue and White responded with a decisive 65–51 victory over the Big Red. Yale led throughout the game and held Cornell to 33 percent shooting on the night. The Elis’ strong defensive effort coupled with 18 points from guard Ellen Margaret Andrews ’21 sealed the team’s sixth conference victory. On Saturday, however, the Elis faced off against an invigorated Columbia (15–8, 6–4), who entered the contest with three consecutive Ivy wins. The match was the Elis’ breast cancer awareness game entitled Play 4 Kay and the players donned pink socks for the cause. Although Yale mounted a valiant comeback in the second half, the Bulldogs ultimately fell short. The 74–65 loss brings the Elis into a tie for third with the Lions in the league standings, intensifying both teams’ late-season push for a spot in Ivy Madness.
“We definitely had a poised offense and great defense on Friday night against Cornell that really allowed us to keep and stretch our lead,” guard Roxy Barahman ’20 said. “Saturday night, our poor defense, especially in transition, was the reason we took a 14-point deficit going into halftime. We know we can’t start games like that on the defensive going forward.”
When Yale faced off against Cornell earlier in the season, the Bulldogs unleashed their offensive firepower with 50 of the team’s 74 points coming from Barahman and forward Camilla Emsbo ’22. Friday night’s game was a different affair. Andrews led a balanced offense that had three players score in double figures and seven players score overall. The Elis also sunk eight of their 16 three-point attempts, with four makes coming from Andrews alone.
Although the Big Red cut the deficit to one point in the second quarter, Yale emerged from halftime with energy and verve. The Bulldogs limited Cornell to just 11 points in the third quarter as they extended the lead to 10. Six points each from Emsbo and Barahman in the final frame dashed all hopes for a Big Red comeback.
Barahman’s layup with 1:17 remaining also marked a historic moment in the guard’s standout Yale career. With 15 points on the night, Barahman moved into a tie for fifth on Yale’s all-time scoring list.
“On Friday, we showed much better discipline and composure on defense than we did the first time we played Cornell,” said Andrews. “The adjustments that our coaches made in order to prepare us for the second match were overall critical to our success. Getting stops on defense helped us get the best options on offense too.”
With less than 24 hours to rest, the Elis suited back up for one of their most critical Ivy games yet. Columbia entered Saturday’s contest against the Blue and White with a three-game win streak that firmly cemented the NYC team as a legitimate contender for one of four spots in Ivy Madness.
Columbia’s momentum was evident in the early going. The Lions jumped out to a quick 20–13 lead as a result of a 9–0 run that extended over the final two minutes of the first quarter. Emsbo was the only bright spot for the Elis in the first half — the Colorado native dominated the interior as she scored 14 of the Bulldogs’ 25 points. Barahman, a reliable source of offensive production, was held to just two points by the stifling Columbia defense.
Despite a 14-point halftime deficit, the Blue and White illustrated their resolve and determination in the second half. The Bulldogs outscored Columbia 18–10 in the third quarter, which brought the home team back into contention.
Emsbo continued to bear the majority of Yale’s offensive production with 10 points in the final frame alone. Although Yale trailed by just two points with eight minutes remaining, the Lions’ sharp shooting from three-point range down the stretch turned the contest back in their favor. Just as Yale would score a basket, Columbia would march down the court and sink a three-pointer, stifling the Elis’ momentum. The Bulldogs ultimately lost by a margin of nine points.
The Lions’ timely shooting from beyond the arc presented a stark contrast to the last meeting between these two teams. Earlier in the season, the Elis limited the Lions to 26 percent shooting from three-point range before going on to defeat Columbia 85–60. On Saturday, the Lions were shooting at 41 percent from the three-point line.
Despite the loss this time around, there were strong showings on the Yale side from Emsbo, who tallied 28 points and six rebounds. Captain and forward Megan Gorman ’20 recorded her second double-double in the last three games.
“We really dug ourselves [into a hole] in the first half and knowing that moving forward we cannot afford to let a quarter or two slip away,” Gorman said. “The entire league is strong this year, so we have to bring our best every Friday and Saturday for [the] entire 40 minutes.”
Even with this most recent loss, Yale remains tied for third in the Ivy League standings behind defending champions Princeton and Penn. The Bulldogs are tied with Columbia at 6–4 in Ivy play, with Harvard just a single win behind. It will be a contentious last two weeks of conference play with Yale, Columbia and Harvard vying to secure their spot in the Ivy Tournament.
Yale is back on the road this weekend taking on pre-season poll favorites Penn and Princeton on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m., respectively.
Drew Beckmen | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sophie Kane | email@example.com