NEW HAVEN, Conn. – After Yale led for almost the entire game, Albany came back late to force overtime, but Yale pulled away in the extra session to earn its sixth straight win and improve to 7-2 on the season.
Albany's Jessica Fequiere made a 3-pointer from well beyond the arc with 6 seconds remaining to force overtime. Yale responded, coming out aggressively and outscoring Albany 13-2 in overtime. Yale's aggressive play was a theme throughout the day, as the team got to the free-throw line a season-high 27 times.
The Bulldogs had chances to close the game out in the fourth quarter, but some costly missed free throws gave Fequiere the opportunity to tie the game. Yale shot 15-for-27 from the line in the game (55.6%), but 15 made free throws still surpassed the team's previous season high of 12.
Senior Lena Munzer, who led Yale in scoring over the first few games of the season, reemerged offensively with a game-high 21 points, in addition to 7 rebounds and 4 steals. She explained their success in getting to the free-throw line, saying, "We knew they were going to come out with a lot of pressure defense, and because they were going to be so aggressive in coming out on us, we knew that we could really try to attack and get some open looks at the basket."
In addition to the Bulldogs' struggles at the line, they were also outrebounded for the first time this season. But they overcame those shortcomings with an excellent shooting performance from the field. They shot a season-best percentage of 45.8%, compared to Albany's 31.3%.
Junior Jen Berkowitz, who leads the Ivy League in field goal percentage, shot 6-for-9 from the field for 19 points today. Berkowitz, who was named Ivy League Player of the Week on Monday, registered her first double-double of the season with 11 rebounds in addition to her 19 points.
This was Yale's second overtime win of the season, and Munzer talked about how prior experience helped the team down the stretch. "We were just in a similar situation at Holy Cross, where we went into overtime, and I think with each of these experiences, there's definitely a step forward…We've been in this place before, so there was a sense of confidence and comfort…Situations like that, as scary as they seem on the outside, those are the moments you dream about and play for."
After finishing the busiest week of the season with a perfect 4-0 record, Joel E. Smilow '54 head coach Allison Guth said after the game, "So proud of our kids for grinding it out. You talk about four games in seven days…it's just so impressive to me that we can have different kids step up every night. Obviously we're getting that consistent performance out of [Jen] Berkowitz, but to have Lena score the way she did, and you look at Tamara [Simpson], what she was able to bring from an offensive spark, and then Meg [McIntyre], that three [to go up 59-53 with 53 seconds left in overtime] was huge. It's a total team effort, and I'm proud of them."
Next up for Yale is Boston College, at home on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs will look to win their seventh straight game and improve to 4-0 at home this season.
Filed by Andy Dougherty, Yale Sports Publicity