The Bulldogs were aggressive on Wednesday night as they attacked their rim and showed off some clutch shooting, but fell just short of a win in a thriller against a well-matched opponent. 

The Yale women’s basketball team (5–3, 0–0 Ivy) lost 61–59 against Quinnipiac (4–3, 0–0 MAAC) on Dec. 1. Both teams went into the matchup with momentum. The Bobcats set a new Division I program record for points scored in a game after dominating Hartford 113–64 on Sunday. The Elis won their last two games against Boston University and Fairfield, having their best shooting performance of the season so far against the latter. The narrow score margin between the two opponents showed how closely contested the game was, but ultimately, the Bobcats gained the edge. 

“We made a lot of mistakes, but there were some things we did really well,” forward Grace Thybulle ’25 said to the News about the game against Quinnipiac. “One of the main takeaways is … how high our ceiling as a team is. It’s exciting to think of the amazing things we’ll be able to do once we work out all our kinks.” 

Yale has won three and lost four of its games against Quinnipiac since 2008. The last time the two teams faced off was in November 2019. In that match, the Bulldogs hosted the Bobcats and won in a 63–59 contest. 

During preseason, the Bobcats were named as the favorites to win their conference, the MAAC, in a coaches poll. Quinnipiac met their lofty expectations, starting off on a strong foot against Yale. The Bobcats wrapped up the first quarter with a 23–17 advantage, shooting 9–15 from the floor and going 4–5 from the free-throw line. 

The second quarter was slow for the Bulldogs. The playing time of team leaders such as forward Camilla Emsbo ’23 was limited due to foul trouble, and the Elis were only able to go 6–16 from the floor. The Bobcats went on an 11–4 run that propelled them to a 15–9 lead by the end of the quarter.

After halftime, the Bulldogs played like a whole different team. The third quarter opened with a quick steal and layup combo by guard Jenna Clark ’24, which set the pace for the rest of the period. The Bulldogs were in complete control, outshooting their opponents 22–10. They had a 0.500 shooting percentage and responded quickly to Quinnipiac attacks. The Elis mounted an impressive comeback, heading into the last quarter with a 53–51 lead.

Quinnipiac showed their grit in the last quarter as they put up a tight defense against the Bulldogs. After a layup by Emsbo at one minute and 57 seconds afforded Yale a two point lead, the Bulldogs were shut out and unable to score until there were only two minutes left in the quarter. Quinnipiac went on a 10–2 run to reclaim the lead. The Bulldogs fought back but were able to get within two points of tying. A missed layup with only five seconds left on the clock meant that the Bulldogs would fall just two points short of tying against Quinnipiac. 

Despite the narrow loss, the game against Quinnipiac showed improvements in the team’s offensive prowess. The squad’s starters were impressive against the Bobcats, with four of them scoring double digits in points. Guard Klara Astrom ’24 led in scoring with 19 points, while Embsbo, Clark and guard Christen McCann ’25 shone as well, scoring 11, 10 and 10 points respectively. 

Emsbo and Clark have been widely recognized for their contributions to the team. Emsbo, who was named this week’s Ivy League Player of the Week for her role in Yale’s wins against Fairfield and BU, leads the nation in double-doubles. Clark is ranked 15th in the country in assists. No other player from the Ivy League is in the top 100 in this category.

The Bulldogs were also outstanding at crashing the boards against the Bobcats, making 11 more rebounds than their opponents. Yale currently leads the Ivy League with a 6.6 rebounding margin and have out-rebounded all of their opponents so far this season. 

“We are aggressive and put a lot of effort into rebounding,” Brenna McDonald ’24, who made her scoring debut on Wednesday, told the News about the team’s dominance at the rim. “[The team is] like a sisterhood, so we also work really well together and are very supportive. I was excited and happy to contribute [against Quinnipiac].”

The Bulldogs will seek to bounce back after their loss as they travel to Pennsylvania on Saturday to face their next opponent, Saint Joseph’s University (1–6, 0–0 Atlantic 10). 

The Hawks started their season strong with a dominant 84–49 win against Maryland Eastern Shore. However, they failed to pick up the momentum and have fallen to every opponent since then. St. Joseph’s most recently lost 73–67 against Ball State on Sunday, and will head into the matchup against Yale with a six-game losing streak. 

“We know we’re playing some really good teams in tough environments, but we’ll be ready to go,” Clark wrote to the News about the team’s upcoming games. “The best part about away trips is getting to … bond with one another. I think we’re all looking forward to getting back to JLA though and playing in front of a home crowd.”

After three weeks on the road, the Bulldogs will return to New Haven next Saturday to host UMass-Lowell. 

Wei-Ting Shih covers baseball, 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.