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Loss to Penn Sets Up Critical Final Game

Camilla Emsbo. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Camilla Emsbo. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – For the Yale women's basketball team, the battle for a spot in the Ivy League Tournament will come down to the last day of the season. The Bulldogs entered the weekend in control of their own destiny for a spot in the tournament and -- despite a 65-56 loss to Peen at Lee Amphitheater Friday night -- they still have it. A chance to clinch that spot Friday night slipped through the Bulldogs' fingers, however, as the Quakers rallied from a four-point deficit with 8:56 to play for the win.

Yale (16-12, 6-7 Ivy League) was hurt by a slow start, as Penn jumped out to an 18-8 lead after the first quarter. The Bulldogs trimmed that lead by just a point in the second quarter but staged a dramatic turnaround in the third. They outscored the Quakers 21-12 in that frame, capped by a putback from sophomore forward Alex Cade that tied the game 40-40 heading into the final quarter.

"You see this team, they fight so hard," said Allison Guth, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "Penn is a very elite team. To see what our team -- particularly our younger players -- can do against them is something we're really excited about as a staff."

Jumpers by Cade and junior guard Roxy Barahman then gave the Bulldogs a four-point lead early in the fourth. But they could not maintain that momentum against Penn (21-5, 11-2 Ivy League), a team that was fighting to maintain its spot tied with Princeton atop the Ivy League standings. The Quakers put together a 10-0 run, including seven points from center Eleah Parker, to re-establish control. Yale got no closer than four the rest of the way, and Penn ended the game on an 8-3 run.

Barahman finished with a team-best 14 points and six assists. Senior forward Alexandra Maund -- who sang the National Anthem before the game -- finished with a career-best 13 rebounds. First-year forward Camilla Emsbo added nine points, eight rebounds and four blocks.

After the game Yale had to do some scoreboard watching. A win by Dartmouth over Columbia moved the Big Green into a tie with the Bulldogs for fourth place in the Ivy standings, while a loss by Cornell at Harvard kept the Big Red from joining the Bulldogs and Big Green in that tie for fourth.

Because Yale has the tiebreaker on Dartmouth -- the teams tied the season series, but Yale has a win over a team higher in the Ivy standings (Princeton) than any team Dartmouth has beaten -- the Bulldogs can clinch the fourth and final spot in the Ivy Tournament with a win vs. Princeton on Saturday.

However, because either Cornell or Dartmouth is guaranteed to win Saturday (they play each other), a loss by Yale would eliminate the Bulldogs from Ivy Tournament contention because either Dartmouth would move ahead of them in the standings or Cornell -- which has the tiebreaker on Yale after winning the season series -- would tie them and the Big Green for fourth.

That leaves plenty on the line for Saturday.

"We want to earn it," said Guth. "There's a group of kids really disappointed after today's game, but happy there's still an opportunity."

Tipoff vs. Princeton is 5:00 p.m., and the game is on ESPN+.

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Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity