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Bulldogs Face Tests At Penn, Princeton This Weekend

Janna Graf. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Janna Graf. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Will Look To Move Up Ivy League Standings

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A pair of important Ivy League road contests await Yale this weekend as the Bulldogs will travel to Penn and Princeton. Yale faces Penn on Friday night in a 7 p.m. tip-off at The Palestra, before taking on Princeton at 6 p.m. at Jadwin Gym on Saturday evening.

Yale split a pair of games last weekend. Saturday's game against Harvard was a matchup of teams tied for first-place in the standings at the time. The Bulldogs and Crimson played a close game throughout and it came down to the final possession. Yale's shot to win was just off the mark and Harvard escaped with a 58-57 win.

Following the loss, Yale stands at 10-10 overall and 4-2 in the Ivy League. The Bulldogs enter the weekend in fourth-place, just behind both Penn and Princeton.

Sarah Halejian, who poured in 27 points against Harvard, leads the Bulldogs in scoring at 15.6 points per game. Meredith Boardman is the team's leading rebounder with 6.2 rebounds per game.

Play Pink

Saturday's game at Princeton is its annual Princeton Plays Pink game. The event will support the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and the YWCA Breast Cancer Resource Center. All fans wearing pink will receive free admission.

Yale hosts its annual Pink Zone/"Battle of the Badges" event on Saturday, Feb. 22, when the Bulldogs host Columbia. All proceeds from the day's events will benefit the Smilow Cancer Center. Fans wearing pink, or making a donation, will receive free admission. Raffle prizes, pink cotton candy and other events will also take place throughout the game.

Scouting Penn

Series History: Yale leads, 38-34

Yale swept the season series last year and has won seven of the last eight meetings between the school's dating back to 2010.

Penn enters the weekend with the Ivy League's top defense, allowing just 57.9 points per game and holding teams to 34.5 percent shooting. The Quakers also bring a league-best six-game win streak into the game.

Sydney Stipanovich is a five-time Ivy Rookie of the Week and a three-time Player of the Week. She averages 11.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Alyssa Baron is the leading scorer at 14.7 ppg and earned First Team All-Ivy League honors in 2013.

Scouting Princeton

Series History: Princeton leads the all-time series, 47-29.

The Tigers have won the last eight meetings in the series, dating back to the 2008-2009 season.

Princeton is the four-time defending Ivy League champions and was tabbed as the preseason favorite. The Tigers are the league's top offense, averaging 73.8 points per game and shooting 47.2 percent from the field as a team.

Blake Dietrick leads three Tigers in double-figures at 14.8 points per game, while Kristen Helmstetter leads the team in rebounding at 6.2 per game.

What To Watch For

Turnovers: The Bulldogs are the top team in the Ivy League with a +3.05 turnover margin. Yale forces opponents into 18.8 turnovers per game and that pressure could boost the Bulldogs' chances against this weekend's foes. Penn is fourth in the league in turnover margin (-0.67) and averages 14.0 turnovers per game, while Princeton is sixth in turnover margin (-2.53) and gives the ball away 16.1 times per game.

Offense vs. Defense: This weekend's games will test the Bulldogs on both ends of the court. Yale comes into the weekend ranking third in offense (67.2 ppg) and fourth in defense (64.3 ppg). Penn is the league's best defense, holding opponents to just 57.9 points per game, while Princeton is the league's top offense at 73.8 points per game. 

All-Ivy League Honorees: There will be a wealth of talent on the floor in both games this weekend, with four players earned All-Ivy honors last season on the floor. Yale features 2013 All-Ivy League First Team honoree Sarah Halejian and All-Ivy League Honorable Mention honoree Janna Graf. Penn is led by returning All-Ivy First Team honoree Alyssa Baron, while Princeton welcomes back All-Ivy Second Team honoree Kristen Helmstetter.

Looking Ahead

Yale returns 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 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