Sunday, March 3, 2024

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Bulldogs victorious over Cornell, Ivy play continues

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Yale Athletics

The Yale women’s basketball team (6–15, 3–5 Ivy) extended their win streak to two with a victory over Cornell University (7–13, 1–7 Ivy) this past weekend. 

The weekend prior, the Bulldogs defeated the University of Pennsylvania Quakers (11–10, 3–5 Ivy), 74–68, after forcing an overtime. They rolled into Ithaca, NY confident, especially given that Cornell dropped their previous game to Harvard (13–8, 6–2 Ivy), 52–63. This game was the first time this season that the Bulldogs and the Big Red battled.

The first quarter began with the Big Red winning the tip-off, though holding possession for no time at all before Nyla McGill ’25 stole the ball and passed to Brenna McDonald ’24. Although Cornell jumped to a five-point lead early in the first quarter, a three-pointer by Kiley Capstraw ’26 and a jumper by McGill tied the game up at 5:59. From there, the Bulldogs and the Big Red fought back and forth for the lead, but eventually met up in a tie going into the second.

In the second, the Bulldogs retaliated against one another with points on either side. Soon, however, Yale broke away from the back-and-forth when Mackenzie Egger ’25 and Jenna Clark ’24 shot for seven consecutive points. The Bulldogs ran off the court at the half, leading 27–20.

After the half, the gap widened as the Blue and White increased their lead by as much as 12 points in the third quarter. Turnovers proved fatal for Cornell, which relinquished the ball into the hands of Yale’s top scorers, who capitalized almost every single time. Toward the end of the quarter, it looked as though Cornell was gaining traction, shooting two jumpers and a layup in a row to close the gap to six points. Just as the time dwindled to one second, McGill drove for a layup to take back the momentum. Going into the fourth, the Bulldogs led 46–38.

The last quarter of the game continued Yale’s momentum, with the Bulldogs ahead by no fewer than four points. Yale bested Cornell 66–59.

The crucial game kept the Blue and White in the contest for the Ivy League tournament, as Brown and Penn, the two teams alongside Yale in the race for the fourth and final spot, both lost their games. 

Head Coach Dalila Eshe told Yale Athletics that she was up-front with her team about the necessity of this win.

“We told the team, when you made the decision to be a Division I athlete, you made the decision to embrace pressure,” she said. “We told them this was a must-win game, on the road, which has been a bit of a monkey on our backs.”

Continuing Ivy play, the Bulldogs return home to John J. Lee Amphitheater to face the Quakers on Friday for the second time and the Princeton Tigers on Saturday.

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