Video: Ivy League Digital Network
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women's basketball team returns to John J. Lee Amphitheater for a pair of Ivy League contests this weekend. The Bulldogs host Dartmouth on Friday night and welcome Harvard on Saturday night. Both games will tip-off at 7 p.m. Saturday's Yale-Harvard game is also "Special Olympics Night" and will feature a halftime ceremony and abbreviated game.
Yale (9-9, 3-1 Ivy League) split a pair of road tilts last weekend and are off to a 3-1 start in Ivy League play for the third time in four seasons. The Bulldogs opened the weekend with a 25-point win at Columbia on Jan. 31 as their defense forced a season-high 28 turnovers.Meredith Boardman and Lena Munzer led the offense with 13 points apiece in game that Yale led from wire-to-wire.
After being tied at halftime, a late spurt in the second half carried Cornell to a nine-point win, giving Yale its first Ivy loss. Sarah Halejian was the sole Bulldog in double-figures with 19 points.
Halejian continues to lead Yale in scoring at 14.9 points per game, while Boardman is the team's top rebounder at 6.4 per game.
Series History: Dartmouth leads, 48-21.
The teams split last season's series, but Yale have won six of the last seven meetings dating back to Feb. 13, 2010.
Belle Koclanes is in her first season as head coach at Dartmouth and has a young squad that features just two seniors. The Big Green feature one of the top rookies in the Ivy League in Fanni Szabo. The 5-9 guard leads the team in scoring (15.5 ppg), assists (40) and steals (43). She ranks third in the Ivy League in scoring, while leading the league in steals and ranking second in minutes played (33.3).
Series History: Harvard leads the series, 44-31, dating back to 1974.
The Crimson have won the last three meetings in the series, but Yale won the three meetings prior from Feb. 11, 2011-Jan. 27, 2012.
Harvard enters the weekend in a three-way tie atop the Ivy standings. The Crimson are one of the top offenses in the league, ranking second in scoring (70.9), free throw percentage (.728), field goal percentage (.420) and three-point field goals per game (6.4). Christine Clark leads the team in scoring (16.5), which ranks second in the Ivy. Temi Fagbenle adds 12.9 ppg, while grabbing 9.6 rebounds per game, which is tops in the Ivy League.
What To Watch For
Scoring Distribution: In each of their first four games in Ivy League play, the Bulldogs have had at least nine players score. Yale's bench is contributing 26.3 points per game in Ivy play and the balanced production has been a boost to the offense, which is averaging over 68 points. Against Columbia, Yale was extremely efficient at spreading the offense around, recording 21 assists on 28 field goals.
Starting Fast: Yale has been at its best this season when it gets out to an early lead, best demonstrated by its 8-1 record when leading at halftime. The Bulldogs raced out to a 25-point margin at Columbia en route to the victory and will look to do the same in a pair of critical contest this weekend.
Rebounding: The Bulldogs have been among the top rebounding teams in the Ivy League this season with a +0.67 rebounding margin. Dartmouth is led on the glass by Lakin Roland (5.8) and Abbey Schmitt (5.1), which will provide a stern test to Yale's rebounding efforts this weekend. Harvard will bring the top rebounding offense in the league (43.1 rpg), led by Temi Fagbenle (9.6 rpg) - the league's top rebounder - to test the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs return to the road for contests at Penn on Feb. 14 before facing Princeton on Feb. 15. Both games tip at 7 p.m.
Yale will return home to play its final four home games of the season, including Feb. 22's annual "Battle of the Badges"/Pink Zone game. Proceeds from the day will benefit breast cancer research at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven. Fans wearing pink or making a donation will get free admission.
Report filed by Jeff Mead, Yale Sports Publicity