BURLINGTON, Vt. – Just over a month into the 2018-19 season, the Yale women's basketball team looks like it is starting to reap the benefits of a challenging schedule that has seen the Bulldogs travel more than 7,000 miles and have four of their nine games decided by four or fewer points. The Bulldogs found themselves in a back-and-forth battle with Vermont at Patrick Gymnasium Saturday afternoon, and came up with the plays they needed in the waning moments to pull out a 58-55 win.
The win came on the heels of a frustratingly close 56-52 loss at St. John's less than 48 hours earlier. The Bulldogs had to make a quick turnaround to find success in Burlington. Among other things, they cut their turnovers down from 20 Thursday to a season-best nine Saturday.
"The composure of our team down the stretch stood out," said Allison Guth, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "That was a big step up. We weren't happy with the way we were down the stretch at St. John's. Today, from an offensive standpoint we had confidence with the basketball. We were focused coming out of timeouts."
The game was tied 44-44 heading into the fourth quarter, and it was tied three more times in that quarter. With the score 54-54, junior guard Roxy Barahman's pull-up jumper with 2:19 to play proved to be the decisive shot -- part of a 21 point, 10 rebound, four assist night for her.
Yale's defense, which held Vermont to 25 percent shooting in the fourth, forced turnovers on the next two Catamount possessions. After the teams traded free throws to make the score 57-55 with 58 seconds left, Vermont had a chance to tie but the Bulldogs forced forward Candice Wright to try an off-balance jumper in the lane that came up short. Sophomore guard Tori Andrew outleaped everyone for the rebound, then made one of two free throws. A last-second three-point attempt by Vermont hit the rim.
The way the first four minutes of the game went, it certainly did not look like it would come down to the wire. Yale (6-5, 0-0 Ivy League) -- playing its ninth game away from home in the last 31 days -- fell behind 12-2 while missing four of its first five shots from the field along with a pair of free throws. But senior forward Alexandra Maund provided a spark off the bench with a jumper that started an 11-0 Yale run to end the quarter, sending the Bulldogs into the second with a 13-12 lead.
Vermont (4-5, 0-0 America East) outscored the Bulldogs 19-15 in the second quarter to take a 31-28 lead into halftime.
A three-pointer by Andrew started an 8-3 Yale run to open the third quarter, giving the Bulldogs a five-point lead. But Vermont outscored Yale 10-5 over the final 6:20 to tie the game heading into the fourth. Forward Hanna Crymble added an additional highlight for the Catamounts by scoring her 1,000th career point.
The fourth quarter was where the Bulldogs shined, as Barahman and first-year forward Camilla Emsbo scored four points each to pace the offense while Emsbo and junior forward Megan Gorman had three rebounds each. Much of Emsbo's work came after Maund fouled out with 2:39 to play.
Andrew, who dealt with foul troubles of her own, finished with a season-high 15 points. That included hitting four of seven from three-point land.
"When she stretches the defense the way she does with her ability to shoot the three, we are tough to guard," said Guth of Andrew. "We know that kid has that ability night-in and night-out."
Saturday's win figures to provide the Bulldogs with a boost heading into one more road game -- at Army West Point Tuesday -- before they take a break for exams.
"Our kids dealt with a lot of adversity on the road today," said Guth. "The way they stayed together will pay dividends as the season continues."
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity