After dropping three of its last four games, the Yale women’s basketball team (14–10, 7–5 Ivy) desperately needed to turn things around entering its weekend road trip against conference foes Penn (10–13, 5–6) and Princeton (19–4, 11–0).

In a Friday night matchup against the Quakers, the Bulldogs put together one of their strongest team showings of the season on their way to a 68-58 victory. Following their recent skid, the team had talked about working to share the ball more on offense, and they did exactly that on Friday.

“It was a huge win for us,” head coach Allison Guth said. “The highlights were 19 assists and shooting .526 from three-point territory. And we had four players in double figures.”

The assists and shooting were promising developments for a Bulldog team that was slumping on the offensive end of the floor. But perhaps the more important note of Friday’s game was how each player stepped up in their given role.

Point guard Jenna Clark ’24 finished with an impressive all-around stat line, recording 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Her partner in the backcourt, Christen McCann ’25, splashed home 5-of-7 3-point attempts en route to an 18-point performance. The frontcourt duo of Camilla Emsbo ’23 and Alex Cade ’22 combined for 24 points and 25 rebounds. Klara Aastroem ’24 came off the bench to make three 3-pointers, scoring 13 points on the day.

McCann described the team’s offensive output as “beautiful Bulldog basketball, facilitating the ball inside-out, getting everyone touches that eventually created the best, open shots on the floor.” She said the team’s flowing offense “makes it much easier to hit your shots” and characterized the game as “one of the top offensive performances we’ve had this season.”

On Friday, the Bulldogs jumped out to an early 7–0 lead, which they stretched to a 15-point margin by the end of the first quarter. However, the Quakers stormed back to bring the game within five by the end of the half, and within one midway through the third quarter. The game seemed on the verge of slipping away before the Blue and White ripped off a 22–4 run to seal the victory.

The next night, the team headed to New Jersey to square off with the Princeton Tigers, who entered the matchup undefeated in league play.

Perhaps the Elis were still fatigued from the previous night’s game or the Tigers came out with too much firepower for the Bulldogs to handle, but the team was unable to match the Tigers’ energy from the outset.

A night after jumping out to an early lead, the Bulldogs found themselves on the other side of the game script. They trailed early, and never managed to get back in the game. The Tigers led 21–11 at the end of the first quarter, and then stretched their lead to 16 by the end of the half. 

“Our performance against Princeton does not reflect the team that we are,” McCann said. “We got hit pretty early in the game, yet we didn’t seem to respond in the way that we typically would in those situations. When you’re playing against a team like Princeton, they are not going to pull back any punches, which seemed to be the story of the night.”

The offense, which had run so smoothly against Penn, ground to a halt against Princeton, as the Elis managed just 36 points for the game.

Princeton’s Abby Meyers and Julia Cunningham, two of the top five leading scorers in the league, combined for 15 points in the first half, and 25 for the game. The Tigers had seven players score at least six points.

Although Princeton has established itself as one of the top-30 teams in the country and the class of the Ivy League, the Bulldogs were still dismayed that they couldn’t put up a better showing than their 74–36 loss.

“Princeton is a top-30 team in the country that is playing very well right now,” Guth said. “But we are very disappointed in not leaving here with our tanks empty.”

In spite of the tough loss on Saturday, the win at Penn put the Bulldogs in a great spot in the Ancient Eight standings. With just two games remaining against Cornell and Brown, who have a combined league record of 5–18, the Bulldogs need just one more win to clinch their spot in the conference tournament. Two victories will be enough for the Elis to secure the third seed.

The Bulldogs did not trail in their game against Penn; but after scoring first against Princeton, the Elis never led again.

Andrew Cramer is a former sports editor, women's basketball beat reporter, and WKND personal columnist at the YDN. He still writes for the WKND and Sports sections. He is a junior in Jonathan Edwards College and is majoring in Ethics, Politics & Economics.