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Brunchtime Basketball at Brown Friday

The Yale bench. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
The Yale bench. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Yale at Brown Friday 11:00 a.m.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Ivy League play begins early for Yale and Brown Friday, as the Bulldogs and Bears tip off at 11:00 a.m. (ESPN+, NESN) on Education Day at the Pizzitola Center. Yale brings a five-game winning streak into the game. That is the team's longest streak since winning six in a row Nov. 20 through Dec. 3, 2016.

Yale Wins FAU Holiday Classic

In its last games before a 19 day break, Yale (10-5, 0-0 Ivy League) won FAU's Holiday Classic by beating Saint Louis 58-52 in the opener Dec. 28 and North Carolina A&T 59-49 in the Championship Dec. 29. Junior forward Megan Gorman (Vero Beach, Fla.), who would go on to earn Tournament MVP honors, had a career-high 17 rebounds in the win vs. the Billikens. Junior guard Roxy Barahman (Calabasas, Calif.), who made the all-tournament team along with Gorman, led Yale with 18 points in the championship win vs. the Aggies.

On a Roll, Thanks to Defense and Rebounding

Yale is 8-2 in its last 10 games. During that span the Bulldogs have held their opponents to 32.1% shooting from the field and outrebounded them 44.1 to 35.6. They have been particularly effective in the first quarter, outscoring their opponents 152-102.

Road Warriors

Yale has played just three games at home this season, and only two since Nov. 7. The Bulldogs have played 12 games on the road in that span, traveling to or through 11 states besides Connecticut (Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont).

Balanced Scoring

During Yale's 8-2 run in its last 10 games, four players averaged at least seven points per game:

Bulldogs Bring Gorman Back to Florida

The trip to the Florida Atlantic Holiday Classic was a "home visit" for junior forward Megan Gorman (Vero Beach, Fla.). Boca Raton, Fla., is roughly 100 miles from her hometown of Vero Beach. She played for Vero Beach High, where she helped the team to the 2016 8A State Championship. Gorman set the school record for career points (1,342) and rebounds (1,184) and was featured in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd".

After the Holiday Classic the Bulldogs relocated to Vero Beach. They remained in that area, practicing at Gorman's high school, until returning to New Haven Jan. 2. Before they left, the Bulldogs hosted a basketball clinic at the local Boys & Girls Club where Gorman worked.

Gorman is an economics major in Trumbull College at Yale. She is second in the Ivy League in rebounding (8.7 per game). So far she has improved her rebounding each year of her career -- 5.1 per game her first year, 6.1 as a sophomore and 8.7 this season.

Bulldogs Third Nationally in Defensive Rebound Rate

Yale is among the nation's leaders in defensive rebound rate (76.3%) as compiled at herhoopstats.com. The Bulldogs are third, one percentage point behind the top team (Loyola Chicago, 77.3%). Princeton (70.7%, 80th) is the only other Ivy League team in the top 80. Junior forward Megan Gorman (Vero Beach, Fla.) (21.6%) and first-year forward Camilla Emsbo (Lakewood, Colo.) (20.0%) are Yale's individual leaders in that category. Yale is averaging 30.0 defensive rebounds per game, which ranks 13th in the NCAA.

Big Improvement in Defense Puts Yale Among Nation's Best

Yale is 48th nationally in scoring defense (57.9 points per game). The Bulldogs are holding their opponents to a .345 shooting percentage this season, 19th in the nation and second only to Penn (.312) among Ivy League teams. That represents an improvement of 62 percentage points from last season, when Yale's opponents shot .407.

Barahman 20th Nationally in Scoring; in Five Ivy Top 10s

Junior guard Roxy Barahman (Calabasas, Calif.) is 20th in the nation in points per game. She is among the Ivy League's top 10 in:

  • Points per game (1st, 20.1)
  • Steals per game (2nd, 2.3)
  • Assists per game (7th, 3.5)
  • Field goal percentage (6th, .406)
  • Rebounds per game (10th, 6.9)

Barahman has scored 20 or more points in a game eight times this season, including a career high 29 in the Preseason WNIT game at Northern Illinois Nov. 8. Her shooting percentage, .406, is 35 percentage points better than her shooting percentage last season.

Barahman is an ecology and evolutionary biology major in Davenport College at Yale and is a graduate of Oaks Christian.

Emsbo Already Among Ivy Leaders

First-year forward Camilla Emsbo (Lakewood, Colo.) leads the Ivy League in rebounds per game (8.9) and is second in blocks per game (1.8). She is second on the team in scoring (11.1 points per game). Defensively, she has helped Yale hold nine of its last 10 opponents to 56 or fewer points.

Emsbo is a three-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week honoree, having earned the honor for the weeks of Nov. 5, Dec. 3 and Dec. 10.

Emsbo was a five-star ESPN recruit out of Lakewood High, and ESPN ranked her as the No. 34 best recruit in the country (sixth-best at her position). She was the Gatorade Player of the Year for Colorado. She is in Branford College at Yale.

Cade Improves Numbers in Second Season

Sophomore forward Alex Cade (Shaker Heights, Ohio) has been averaging nearly 19 minutes per game, an increase of more than 12 minutes per game compared to last season. She has improved her scoring (from 2.4 ppg to 5.7 ppg) and rebounding (from 2.1 rpg to 5.0 rpg) significantly compared to last year.

RPI and the Ivy League

The latest NCAA RPI ratings provide a glimpse at how the Ivy League teams stack up as conference play begins:

  • 66 Penn
  • 67 Harvard
  • 89 Princeton
  • 117 Yale
  • 195 Cornell
  • 223 Dartmouth
  • 238 Brown
  • 257 Columbia

The top four teams in the regular season standings qualify for the 2019 Ivy League Tournament, which takes place at Lee Amphitheater Mar. 16 and 17.

Around the Ivy League

Four other Ivy teams start league play this weekend, as Columbia visits Cornell and Dartmouth visits Harvard Saturday. Two other Ivy teams, Penn and Princeton, have already started league play -- the Quakers beat the Tigers 66-60 on Jan. 5.

Scouting Brown

Brown (8-8, 0-0 Ivy League), which has dropped four of its last six games, is 4-2 at the Pizzitola Center this season. The Bears' offense features three 1,000 point scorers in junior guard Justine Gaziano, senior guard Shayna Mehta and senior forward Erika Steeves. Mehta set Brown's career three-pointers record on Dec. 8. She now has 233 for her career.

The Bears went 3-11 in the Ivy League last season, finishing tied for sixth.

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