WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Bulldogs conclude regular season with convincing win at Brown
The Yale women’s basketball team clinched a third-place finish in Ivy League play with a 64–49 victory at Brown.
In its regular season finale, the Yale women’s basketball team (16–10, 9–5 Ivy) won by a score of 64–49 against Brown (6–20, 1–13) to clinch a third-place finish in the Ivy League.
After the Bears scored the game’s opening points on a layup, Christen McCann ’25 responded with a three-pointer for the Bulldogs, and Yale never trailed again. The Blue and White began to open up a lead midway through the second quarter, and pulled away at the start of the third. While the offense was solid, the Elis’ defense was the driving force in the victory, as has been the case in many Yale victories this season.
“We as a team worked to execute the scout we had against Brown, which was to limit them beyond the arc and win the rebound battle,” McCann said after the game. “Brown is definitely a good team that is always going to go into war against anyone – especially when playing their last home game of the season — so we were aware of how crucial it was to clamp down defensively in all ways that we could.”
Yale’s frontcourt tandem set the tone early in the game, as forward Camilla Emsbo ’23 and center Alex Cade ’22 each scored four points in the first quarter to help the Bulldogs race out to a 16–11 lead in the first period.
However, Emsbo really began to take over in the second quarter, as she scored 10 of Yale’s 13 points in the period. The Bears seemed to have no answers for the junior forward all game. After missing the first matchup between the two teams due to injury, Emsbo finished the game with 20 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.
“I think our offense navigated against the zone pretty well, especially when we started running some of our more active sets,” Emsbo said. “Great ball movement and vision from our teammates allowed us to get some open shots.”
The Bulldogs entered the locker room with a comfortable 29–18 lead, but blew the game wide open after the break. Four more points from Emsbo as well as three-pointers by McCann and Jenna Clark ’24 stretched the lead to 39–19 just four minutes into the third period.
Brown never seemed to find a rhythm on offense, as the Bears shot just 31.5 percent from the field and 21.7 percent from three-point range. Isabella Mauricio, the fifth-leading scorer in the Ivy League, made just three of her 15 shots on the game, finishing with nine points, thanks in large part to McCann’s defensive presence.
“We had a great defensive [week of preparation] and knew what we had to do to limit their shot opportunities,” Clark said. “Our communication on the defensive end of the floor definitely played a huge role in our performance.”
Yale stretched the lead to 50–35 by the end of the third quarter, led by six points from first-year forward Grace Thybulle ’25 in the final two minutes of the period.
The New York native continued her solid performance by scoring the opening points of the fourth quarter, as the Bulldogs worked to preserve their lead. The two teams each scored 14 points, as the Bears failed to muster any sort of comeback in the second half.
“I always just like to make the most of my minutes and have fun working in the paint,” Thybulle said. “It was awesome coming in with [Brenna McDonald ’24] and getting to work off that high-low action together.”
The victory means that the Bulldogs will be the third seed in the conference tournament. Although the Bulldogs had already clinched a postseason berth prior to the game, a loss would have put their seeding in jeopardy.
Thanks to the win, the Bulldogs will square off against second-seeded Columbia (21–5, 12–2) instead of top-seeded Princeton (21–4, 13–0). Although the Bulldogs fell in each of their matchups against the Lions during the regular season, both of the games were competitive throughout.
McCann summarized the team’s mindset as it prepares for its postseason matchup against the Lions.
“We definitely have a chip on our shoulders from our first two encounters,” McCann said. “If we were to have won those matchups earlier in the season and earned second seed, we would still be facing Columbia in the tournament. Mentally, we recognize those losses as lessons to learn from, and we look to execute our game plan in one of the most important games we will play this year.”
Yale’s 9–5 conference record is tied for the third-best in program history.