WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Bulldogs return to school 4‒1 in Ivy play
The Yale Women’s Basketball team spent winter break improving their overall record to 10‒8.
Since the last day of the classes in 2022, the Yale women’s basketball team (10‒8, 4‒1), the Bulldogs have won six games and lost two.
In December, the Bulldogs eked out a 60–58 overtime victory against Drexel University (13‒4, 5‒1 Colonial) before beating Boston University (11‒6, 6‒0 Patriot) 58‒46. The Bulldogs fell 70–63 to Lehigh (8‒9, 4‒2 Patriot) on the 20th in their last preseason game.
Ivy League play began for the Bulldogs on New Year’s Eve when they fell 92‒57 to Columbia University (15‒3, 4‒1 Ivy) in Payne Whitney Gymnasium. The next weekend, Yale won 57‒47 at Dartmouth College (2‒17, 0‒5 Ivy) and earned their first road win against Harvard University (10‒7, 3‒2 Ivy) since 2012 in a 71‒70 overtime victory. This past weekend, the Bulldogs beat University Cornell (9‒16, 4‒10 Ivy) 68‒56 and Brown University (8‒9, 1‒4 Ivy) 72‒59.
Cornell started the game in a three-quarters court press, forcing the Elis to handle the ball against pressure. Yale’s main ball handler, point guard Jenna Clark ’24, never came out of the game. She led the team in breaking Cornell’s press with cross court passes that created open shots down the floor. Yale ballooned 14 points in the third quarter, so Cornell retreated back into the half court near the end of the game.
“We haven’t historically over the season dealt very well with the press,” said head coach Delilia Eshe with a laugh, “So we spent a lot of time on practice this week working on it … We’ve tweaked a little bit positionally where we put players, understanding what we’re trying to accomplish out of it, so [the players] are doing a better job.”
Nyla McGill ’25 and Klara Aastroem ’24 scored 17 points. Christen McCann ’25, who was a starter on last year’s team but could not play in this year’s preseason due to injury, pitched in 14 points in what was her fifth game back.
“It feels great [to be back on the floor],” McCann said. “The team and coaching staff was so good in making sure that, number one, from a mental standpoint I was doing okay and helping me get back and telling me ‘you’re still the player you can be.’ Number two, the training staff, Sarah Hall, was great. She helped me through a lot of things. I really have confidence in my team and they helped the process be easy.”
McCann, McGill and Aastroem were too much for Cornell; The three combined for 48 points and 11 steals. Yale won the home game 68–56.
Yale traveled to Brown the following night and returned with another victory. The score was tied 29–29 at halftime, but the Bulldogs pulled away by as many as 15 points in the second half. Mackenzie Egger ’25 scored a career high 24 points on 10 for 15 shooting and grabbed a season high eight rebounds.
Clark had a season-high 19 points and season-high 12 assists, the highest assist mark any Ivy League player has made this year. The second and third highest marks also belong to Clark, as she had 10 assists against Fordham (12–6, 4–1 Atlantic 10) in November and nine against Cornell.
“I am very proud of our winning streak!” Egger wrote to the News. “After our tough loss to Columbia, we have all really bought into working extremely hard in practice to prepare for our Ivy competition. Our defense has really won the games.”
Although Yale’s four game winning streak has earned them a 4–1 Ivy League record, the Bulldogs sit in third place in the Ivy standings behind Penn (12‒6, 4‒1) and Columbia, who are also 4–1 in Ivy play but ahead of Yale in the standings because of their overall records.
The Bulldogs’ next game is against University of Pennsylvania on Saturday, Jan. 21. They will play in The Palestra at 2:00 p.m.