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Much at Stake as Yale Hosts Penn, Princeton

The Yale Women's Basketball Class of 2019: Alexandra Maund (left) and Gabby Nelson (right). (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
The Yale Women's Basketball Class of 2019: Alexandra Maund (left) and Gabby Nelson (right). (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Yale vs. Penn Friday 6:00 p.m.

Yale vs. Princeton Saturday 5:00 p.m.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The final two games of the regular season this weekend at Lee Amphitheater will determine the Yale women's basketball team's postseason fate. They will also help determine the Ivy League champion, as both of the Bulldogs' opponents -- Penn (Friday, 6:00 p.m., ESPN+) and Princeton (Saturday, 5:00 p.m., ESPN+) -- enter the weekend tied for first in the Ivy standings. Yale enters the weekend in sole possession of the fourth and final spot in the Ivy League Tournament. The Bulldogs are one game behind third-place Harvard and one game in front of the two teams tied for fifth (Cornell and Dartmouth). Adding to the drama, it is Alumnae Weekend and Saturday is Senior Night.

Postseason Possibilities

Yale controls its own destiny for one of the four spots in the Ivy League Tournament. Two wins this weekend would get the Bulldogs into Ivy Madness -- which takes place at Lee Amphitheater Mar. 16-17 -- regardless of other results.
 
The Bulldogs could get the third seed if they sweep the weekend and finish in a tie with Harvard for third place. In that scenario, Yale would be 2-0 against Princeton and 1-1 against Penn, whereas the Crimson finished 0-2 against Princeton and 1-1 against Penn. Even if Penn won the title outright, the tiebreak would fall to record against Princeton, giving Yale the edge.

Yale can also make the Ivy League Tournament with one win or no wins this weekend but would need help in either of those scenarios. The Bulldogs cannot afford to finish in a tie with Cornell, as the Big Red has the tiebreaker edge on them (having won the season series 2-0). Yale has the tiebreaker edge on Dartmouth, having tied the season series with the Big Green and beaten a team higher in the Ivy standings (Princeton) than any team Dartmouth has beaten.

Senior Night Saturday

Yale will pay tribute to its two seniors, forward Alexandra Maund (Dorchester, Mass.) and guard Gabby Nelson (Hurst, Texas), before Saturday's game.

The seniors have helped the Yale women's basketball program to several notable accomplishments. Last year's team won 19 games -- a school record -- and took home the WBI Championship, becoming the first Ivy League school to win a national postseason women's basketball tournament. This year the Bulldogs won at Princeton for the first time since 2009. They have also beaten archrival Harvard three times in the last three years.

Maund is enjoying the best season of her career. She is on pace for career highs in points per game, rebounds per game and assists per game. She is fifth on the team in rebounds per game. Always a valuable contributor off the bench, this season she has also made her first two career starts. She had a career high 18 points and 11 rebounds in Yale's 96-86 overtime win at Princeton last month, the Bulldogs' first win at Jadwin Gym in 10 years. She also had 17 points in Yale's 65-62 win vs. Harvard last month.

Maund sings with the a capella group the Unorthojocks and made a service trip to Africa last summer. She is a women's gender and sexuality studies major in Saybrook College.

Nelson has been one of Yale's top sharpshooters throughout her career. She has made some of her most memorable three-pointers in the team's biggest games. That included a pair in the team's 82-72 win at TCU last season, a game that was played in her home state of Texas. She also hit a critical three in Yale's 96-86 overtime win at Princeton earlier this year.

Nelson has also been a leader on and off the court throughout her career, bringing intangibles that cannot be measured. This season, she was elected captain by her teammates.

Nelson spent last summer working for former Yale women's basketball captain Yosepha Greenfield '11 as a marketing and business development intern for the educational consulting company InGenius Prep. She has a job lined up with Deloitte after graduation.

Nelson is an economics major in Ezra Stiles College.

Maund Highlighted for Service Trip

Senior forward Alexandra Maund (Dorchester, Mass.) was recently featured in a video produced by the Ivy League for a service trip she made to Africa last summer with several other Ivy Leaguers. Maund made the trip for an organization, Play BOLD, that was started by former Yale women's basketball assistant coach Melissa D'Amico.

Bulldogs Split Ivy Trip to New York

Yale (16-11, 6-6 Ivy League) split a road trip to New York last weekend. The Bulldogs fell at Cornell, 66-56, on Friday. Junior guard Roxy Barahman (Calabasas, Calif.) led the team in scoring with 18 points, including the 1,000th point of her career. The Bulldogs bounced back for a 67-54 win at Columbia the next night. First-year forward Camilla Emsbo (Lakewood, Colo.) led the team in scoring with 17 points and tied with sophomore forward Alex Cade (Shaker Heights, Ohio) for the team lead in rebounds with eight.

One of Yale's Best

With 16 wins this year, Yale has won 15 or more games for three straight seasons. This is the first time in school history that has happened. The Bulldogs' first varsity season was 1973-74.

The Bulldogs are within three of the school record for wins in a season. Here are Yale's top nine seasons in terms of overall wins:

19 wins: 2017-18
17 wins: 1979-80
16 wins: 1993-94, 2011-12, 2018-19
15 wins: 1976-77, 1988-89, 1992-93, 2016-17

Home Sweet Home

Yale has enjoyed a considerable home court advantage in recent years. The Bulldogs are 40-19 (.678) at home since the start of the 2014-15 season:

2014-15: 8-4 (.667)
2015-16: 10-5 (.667)
2016-17: 7-4 (.636)
2017-18: 8-5 (.615)
2018-19: 7-1 (.875)

Yale is averaging 66.6 points per game in its eight home games this season. The Bulldogs are averaging 62.3 points per game in their 16 road games, and 61.3 points per game in their three neutral-site games.

Bulldogs on the Boards

Yale is sixth in the nation in defensive rebounds per game (30.0 per game). The Bulldogs have had at least 30 defensive rebounds in five of their last nine games. Their season high is 41, achieved in the FAU Holiday Classic Championship win vs. North Carolina A&T Dec. 29.

With 1,125 total rebounds, Yale leads the Ivy League.

Barahman Joins 1,000 Point Club

Last Friday at Cornell junior guard Roxy Barahman (Calabasas, Calif.) became the 22nd player in Yale history to score 1,000 or more points. She reached the magic number with a pull-up jumper in the second quarter.

Barahman is 46th in the nation in points per game (18.8). She is among the Ivy League's top 12 in:

  • Points per game (1st, 18.8)
  • Steals per game (3rd, 2.1)
  • Assists per game (6th, 3.7)
  • Field goal percentage (8th, .398)
  • Rebounds per game (12th, 6.4)

Here are her highs for the season in select categories:

  • Points: 33 at Princeton Feb. 8 (career high)
  • Rebounds: 14 vs. North Carolina A&T Dec. 29 (career high)
  • Assists: 6 (four times) (career high is 9, Feb. 9, 2018 at Columbia)
  • Steals: 5 at Princeton Feb. 8 (tied career high from Nov. 19, 2017 at Kansas)

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

Emsbowl II

Saturday will mark the second meeting between Yale first-year forward Camilla Emsbo (Lakewood, Colo.) and her identical twin sister Kira, a forward for Princeton. Camilla and Yale won the first meeting, 96-86 in overtime at Jadwin Gym Feb. 8.

Camilla enters the weekend ranked fourth in the Ivy League in rebounding (8.0 rebounds per game) and second on the Yale team in scoring (11.0 points per game). She is a member of Branford College at Yale.

Around the Ivy League

Heading into the final weekend of the Ivy League regular season, all eight games could have Ivy championship and/or postseason seeding implications. Two teams (Penn and Princeton) have clinched spots in the Ivy Tournament and four (Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard and Yale) are vying for the remaining two spots. Penn and Princeton are currently vying for the Ivy League championship as they are tied for first with 10-2 records, three games ahead of third-place Harvard. Yale, at 6-6 in the league, is fourth. The Bulldogs have a one-game lead on Cornell and Dartmouth.

The schedule for the weekend is:

Friday
6:00 Cornell at Harvard
6:00 Penn at Yale
7:00 Columbia at Dartmouth
7:00 Princeton at Brown

Saturday
5:00 Columbia at Harvard
5:00 Cornell at Dartmouth
5:00 Princeton at Yale
6:00 Penn at Brown

The team that finishes the regular season with the best record in league games is declared the Ivy League Champion. 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. The winner of the tournament receives the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Scouting Penn

Penn (20-5, 10-2 Ivy League) features one of the best defenses in the nation, as the Quakers currently rank fourth in field-goal percentage defense (.408) and seventh in scoring defense (65.4 points allowed). They are 11th nationally in blocks per game (5.5), led by standout sophomore Eleah Parker (3.24 blocks per game, second in the nation). Parker is sixth in the Ivy League in scoring (14.7 points per game).

Scouting Princeton

Princeton (18-9, 10-2 Ivy League), which plays at Brown Friday, has won eight in a row since falling to the Bulldogs 96-86 in overtime Feb. 8. The Tigers are averaging 70.1 points per game, second-best in the Ivy League, and are shooting .322 from three-point range (also second-best in the league). Limited to 18 games by an injury, guard/forward Bella Alarie is averaging a team-best 22.7 points per game but does not qualify for the Ivy League leaders.

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