Lost Opportunity for Yale with Loss to Harvard

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Aarica West. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs' Loss Creates Logjam in Ivy Standings for Second Place, Possible WNIT Bid

 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Yale University women's basketball team entered Saturday's home game against Harvard with an opportunity to sweep the Crimson for the second straight season. That would have put some distance between the Bulldogs and Brown and Harvard in the race for second place in the Ivy League standings.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Harvard's desire to end its losing streak to Yale far outweighed Yale's postseason aspirations, at least for one night.

Harvard took advantage of two key Yale dry spells, at the start of the game and midway through the second half, to cruise to a 71-51 win over the Bulldogs at John J. Lee Amphitheater Saturday night.

The loss snaps Yale's three-game winning streak over Harvard and drops the Bulldogs to 15-9 overall, 7-3 in the Ivy League standings.

The loss leaves Yale and Harvard with three Ivy League losses apiece. After Brown's loss to Dartmouth Saturday, the Bears now have four losses in League play. Both Yale and Brown have four games remaining, while Harvard has five left. With the second-place team earning an automatic bid to the WNIT, the race for second place is a tight one at this point and promises to be an exciting one over the final two weeks of the regular season.

Christine Clark scored nine of Harvard's first 22 points, helping the Crimson take a 22-7 lead early on. The game turned in Yale's favor after that early Harvard spurt. The Bulldogs closed the half with a 15-5 run that closed the gap to 27-22 at halftime. Yale trimmed the deficit to 25-22 and had a chance to tie the game before the halftime buzzer, but Hayden Latham's 3-point attempt fell short and Emma Golen's jumper with one second on the clock gave Harvard a little bit of breathing room heading into the locker room at the break.

Yale pulled to within four points, 29-25, just 56 seconds into the second half on a 3-pointer by Megan Vasquez, but big mistakes ended up costing the Bulldogs in the second half.

Harvard slowly opened up an 11-point lead, 49-38, with 9:46 left, and then the game completely unraveled for the Bulldogs. At the third media timeout with 7:24 remaining, a shooting foul by Vasquez and a subsequent technical foul by Aarica West, gave Victoria Lippert four opportunities at the free-throw line, and she cashed in on all four. This came just seconds after two more free throws by Lippert. The six-point spurt put Harvard on top 56-40.

Yale did manage to trim the deficit down to 10 points twice over the next three minutes, but Harvard closed the game with a 12-2 run to walk off with a 20-point victory.

Vasquez finished with 10 points and seven rebounds, ending her short three-game streak with 20 points or more. Janna Graf scored 15 points to lead the Bulldogs, while Latham finished with 10 points and three assists.

Clark finished with a game-high 23 points and seven rebounds to lead the Crimson (13-10, 6-3). Lippert added 14 points and eight rebounds. Senior Brogan Berry recorded eight points and seven assists, giving her a total of 503 career assists. Combined with her 1,361 career points, Berry became the first player in Ivy League history to record at least 1,300 points and 500 assists in a career.

Harvard outrebounded Yale 44-32 and held the Bulldogs to 19-for-66 shooting (28.8 percent), the Bulldogs' lowest shooting percentage since the loss to Princeton on Feb. 4 (25.0 percent). It is just the second time in the last 13 games that Yale's shooting percentage had fallen below 32.0 percent in a game and just the fourth time this season, all four ending in losses.

Yale will hit the road next weekend to take on Columbia on Friday and Cornell on Saturday. Brown will visit Cornell first before taking on Columbia, while Harvard visits Princeton and Penn.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity