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Elis Dominate in the Paint, Roll Past Wagner

Jen Berkowitz (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Jen Berkowitz (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Third Game With Four Players Scoring In Double-Figures

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Four players scored in double-figures, including a career-high 22 points for Tamara Simpson and a double-double for Whitney Wyckoff, as the Yale women's basketball team cruised to a 78-60 win over Wagner on Sunday afternoon.

The Bulldogs (6-4) received another balanced scoring effort in the win, as forwards Jen Berkowitz (Wayland, Mass.) and Katie Werner (Phoenix, Ariz.) combined for 29 points – a big reason for Yale's 45-20 scoring advantage in the paint.

"I was really proud of them. It shows the versatility we have in our scoring options," said Joel E. Smilow '54 head coach Allison Guth. "I like how we played our high-low game with them offensively while using our bigger lineup."

With leading scorer Nyasha Sarju (Seattle, Wash.) out due to injury, Berkowitz scored 16 points (7-of-10) in her first start of the season, grabbing six rebounds and recording three assists in the process. Werner had 13 points and five rebounds.

Simpson's career-high in scoring came on 6-of-15 shooting, with 15 of her points coming in the second half. She added five steals and three assists, while sinking 8-of-12 free throws. Wyckoff had 12 points and 11 rebounds in her double-double, tying a career-high on the boards.

"We exposed them (Wagner) in the post; our forwards played really well today. We challenged their post players, and when they adjusted, we found open shooters on the outside," said Simpson, who now has four games with at least five steals this season.

For the 10th-consecutive game, the Yale defense caused a double-digit amount of turnovers, forcing Wagner into 22 offensive miscues. The Bulldogs took full advantage, scoring 36 points off those turnovers.

"We have players ever day in practice that can score, and I think getting back to our running game and getting transition points allowed us to have a balanced scoring effort," said Guth, whose team outscored Wagner in fast-break points, 15-0.

Wyckoff had a game-high five assists, as the Bulldogs racked up 17 assists in the game, while the Seahawks managed just four. Guard Jasmine Nwajei was the sole threat for Wagner, scoring a game-high 32 points on 14-of-29 shooting.

Before Wagner even had a chance to breathe, it seemed the Bulldogs were already ahead by double-figures. Yale had a 26-8 lead after the first eight minutes of play; a lead that Wagner trimmed to 27-17 after the first period.

Neither team shot well in the second quarter, playing evenly and giving the Bulldogs a 10-point lead at halftime. Yale shot 48.4-percent from the field in the game, including 50-percent (16-of-32) in the first half.

Leading 51-37 at the 5:15 mark in the third quarter, Wagner went on an 8-1 run to cut the lead to seven. Two buckets by Berkowitz before the period's conclusion regained Yale its 10-point advantage.

The key sequence came in the fourth quarter, after Nwajei hit a jumper for Wagner and cut the Yale lead to 60-51. Following a miss, Wyckoff stole the ball from Nwajei in the backcourt, finding Simpson for the layup in a momentum-changing play.

After another turnover by Nwajei on the other end, Simpson hit a three-pointer to stretch the lead to 65-51, a basket that resulted in a Wagner timeout. The Bulldogs led by as many as 22 points in the fourth quarter after a 17-4 run from the 6:28 to 2:09 mark.

Yale is now 4-0 in the all-time series with Wagner after Sunday at the Lee Amphitheater.

"We had a lot of incentive to get in the gym and work hard following the Army game," said Simpson. "We wanted to win again on our home court and we're on a high again. We're getting ready to play St. John's and are really excited to play another high-caliber team."

The Bulldogs will travel to play the Red Storm on Wednesday night, with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. Yale has three games, including two at home, remaining before the holiday break.

 

Filed by Steve Lewis, Yale Sports Publicity