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Big Crowd, Big Win: Bulldogs Shut Down CCSU, 58-46

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

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – It was a team effort in more ways than one at Lee Amphitheater Thursday afternoon. The New Haven Public Schools provided the atmosphere, with an electric crowd of hundreds of students jamming the stands. And the Yale women's basketball team provided the show vs. Central Connecticut. The Bulldogs delivered a dominant defensive performance -- limiting the Blue Devils to 27% shooting -- while also tying their season high with 18 assists. Junior guard Roxy Barahman led the way with 27 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals, while first-year forward Camilla Emsbo added 13 points, six rebounds and three blocks. In the end that added up to a 58-46 win for the Bulldogs, their sixth win in the last eight games.

Yale (8-5, 0-0 Ivy League), coming off an eight-day stretch without a game, trailed for much of the first quarter but took a 14-12 lead after back-to-back possessions yielded three-pointers: one by Barahman and one by sophomore guard Ale Aguirre.

Barahman would go on to post her eighth game of the season with 20 or more points, shooting a remarkable .667 (10 for 15).

"I think this was one of Roxy's most complete games," said Allison Guth, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "It's not just the statistics. You're seeing her leadership on the floor against a team that defended really well in terms of switching up, making communication critical for us."

After CCSU (3-6, 0-0 NEC) tied the game 14-14 heading into the second quarter, the Bulldogs earned some breathing room thanks to a 10-3 run that culminated with a layup from sophomore forward Alex Cade at 1:09 -- part of an eight-point night for her. The Bulldogs held a 29-21 advantage at halftime.

CCSU got within four midway through the third, but a Barahman layup sparked an 11-4 run that put the Bulldogs back in command. The lead grew to 15 points late in the fourth before a last-minute three by CCSU made the final 58-46.

That was the second-lowest point total of the season for a Yale opponent, and marked the fifth straight game the Bulldogs have held their opponent to 56 or fewer points.

"I'm really liking what we're doing in our pack," said Guth in reference to Yale's "Pack Line" defense. "I think our kids believe in defending together, contesting shots. We are forcing tough shots, and the kids have bought in to what we are doing."

Yale had a 47-38 rebounding edge thanks in part to Barahman's 10 boards along with nine from Cade and eight from junior forward Megan Gorman. The Bulldogs also had a 30-10 advantage in points in the paint.

As impressive as the action on the court was, the sight of packed stands at Lee Amphitheater on a Thursday afternoon during the holiday season was also a remarkable one. Hundreds of children from the New Haven Public School system began arriving by the busload shortly before the game started and stayed well past the end of the game -- when the Bulldogs stuck around to sign autographs.

Guth acknowledged the work that went into putting a day like that together, along with the impact it had on her squad.

"We are beyond grateful to Heather [Del Cervo, in Yale Athletics' External Operations Department, who helped organize the event] and her marketing crew for getting this crowd out here," said Guth. "I have never seen an environment here as electric as the one we had today. It was inspiring for us to see these young people being entertained by what we do."

Yale heads to Boca Raton, Fla., next week to take part in FAU's Holiday Classic. The Bulldogs face Saint Louis in the first round on Dec. 28, with FAU playing North Carolina A&T in the other game that day. The tournament concludes Dec. 29 with a championship game and a consolation game.

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