Courtesy of Yale Athletics

The Yale women’s basketball team (3–0, 0–0 Ivy) continues to shine in its strong start to the season with a victory against Sacred Heart University (2–1, 0–0 NEC) on Tuesday.

The Bulldogs had a slow start against the Pioneers, but were ultimately able to pick up the pace to seize the game 60–53. This is the team’s first victory of the season within regulation time, after kicking off the year with two overtime thrillers against Providence College and Northeastern University. With this win, Yale now has a three-game winning streak.

“We are all super stoked about winning three games in a row,” forward Alex Cade ’22 told the News. “I am really proud that we were able to pull through and prevent overtime. However, we need to improve on all fronts — offensively with converting and defensively [by] ensuring we are positioned correctly to help each other.” 

Yale showed off its depth with solid performances by its upperclassman core and young talent. Forward Camilla Emsbo ’23 led the Elis in scoring with 26 points, followed by guard Jenna Clark ’24 and Cade, who scored 13 and 10 points, respectively. Emsbo and Cade formed a strong offensive duo, notching a collective 23 points by halftime. Clark has proven to be a key member of the rotation and is currently ranked fifth in the nation in average minutes played per game. 

However, the Elis faltered defensively on Tuesday and gave the Pioneers opportunities to attack the rim. Despite outshooting Sacred Heart at the charity line, the Bulldogs often shot poorly from the field. The Elis had a 31.3 percent shooting percentage, and were only 2–17 at the three-point line. 

“[Yale] is the most gritty team out there,” guard Avery Lee ’25 said. “Coming away with so many close games just says a lot about the character of our team. It really takes everyone to get these wins. We feel good about these wins, but we know we can do so much better and we’re going to [continue to] work at it.”

The Bulldogs showed improvements on Tuesday. The squad only had nine turnovers against Sacred Heart, a marked decrease compared to the contest against Northwestern where they had 29. Yale was also more aggressive at the rim, out-rebounding Sacred Heart 48–36 and notching up 17 points from 17 offensive rebounds. 

The Pioneers entered the game against Yale with momentum after dominating 71–46 in a Sunday game against Brown (1–2, 0–0 Ivy). This energy carried over into the first quarter, which Sacred Heart finished with a leading score of 18–13. However, Yale responded with an offensive surge, outscoring the Pioneers 14–12 in the second, 16–10 in the third and 17–13 in the fourth. The tide truly turned in favor of the Blue and White early in the third quarter. Emsbo made a layup at seven minutes and nine seconds in that gave Yale a 33–32 lead and was part of a 6–0 run. 

“It was a close game, but we kept pushing when things got hard,” center Brenna McDonald ’24 told the News. “We had a strong inside presence and trusted each other. We did a better job taking care of the ball than in past games.”

The Bulldogs will return to the John J. Lee Amphitheater this Friday to host the Maine Black Bears (0–3, 0–0 America East) at 6 p.m. This will be the team’s last home match before it heads back on the road for three weeks in which they will play six away games. The Black Bears currently have a three-game losing streak after falling 60–83 to the University of Delaware (2–1, 0–0 CAA) on Monday. The last time Yale and Maine faced off was in the 2014-15 season, where the Bulldogs edged out the Bears by two points to get the win.

“We’re most excited about building off of what we need to work on,” Lee said about the upcoming game. “It’ll be fun to be playing back at home again, and we’re excited to bring the energy. We know we can shoot the ball and defend in our pack better, so we can’t wait to get back to that.”

In their 2019-20 season, the Elis were 9–4 at home. 

WEI-TING SHIH
Wei-Ting Shih covers volleyball and women's basketball as a staff reporter. Originally from Taiwan and Nicaragua, she is a sophomore in Grace Hopper College double-majoring in Ethics, Politics & Economics and History.