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Strong Second Half Pushes Yale Past Bryant, 72-61

Zenab Keita. (photo by Sam Rubin ?95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Zenab Keita. (photo by Sam Rubin ?95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Hit 11 Three-Pointers and Force 26 Turnovers

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - On a night when they hit a season-high 11 three-pointers, it was the Yale women's basketball team's defense during the second half that was the difference in a 72-61 win over Bryant on Wednesday night.

Yale (4-4) held Bryant to one field goal over a span of 8:14 midway through the second half to turn a one-point lead into a 13-point cushion. The Elis outscored Bryant 15-3 during the run to build a comfortable cushion en route to the win.

A three-point play by Katie Werner sparked the spurt and Janna Graf hit a three-pointer to stretch the lead to 55-48 with 11:06 remaining. After a Sarah Halejian free throw, Bryant hit a three-pointer to interrupt the streak before Meredith Boardman hit a short jumper and Halejian and Hayden Latham hit back-to-back three-pointers to make it 64-51 with 5:09. Bryant was unable to get closer than nine points the rest of the way.

The game started in a different fashion as Bryant (2-5) converted layups on its first three possessions to jump out to a 6-0 lead and pushed its lead to 11-3 after a Jenniqua Bailey layup just 3:02 into the game.

Yale came with three-pointers by Graf and Nyasha Sarju as part of a 11-2 run. A layup by Halejian gave the home team its first lead of the night at 14-13. The teams traded the lead nine times in the first half, but Yale took the lead for the final time in the half on a Latham three-pointer with 6:46 to play. Layups by Zenab Keita and Katie Werner pushed the lead to 29-24.

Graf scored Yale's final five points of the first half and made it 37-31 before Bryant scored four straight to close the period and make it 37-35 at halftime.

Bryant tied the game on the first possession after halftime and took a momentary lead in the second half with consecutive baskets by Breanna Rucker and Jenniqua Bailey to make it 41-39, but a jumper by Keita and three-pointer by Graf gave Yale the lead for good with 16:57 to play.

Halejian led a balanced offensive attack with 15 points and added six assists and a career-high seven steals. Graf added 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting from three-point range, while Latham hit three trifectas and chipped in 11 points with three assists and no turnovers. Boardman grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.

Courtney Schissler scored 16 points for Bryant, while Meredith Soper added 13. Bryant's 26 turnovers were converted into 26 points by Yale and was the difference in the game.

The Bulldogs are back in action on Saturday afternoon when they host Army at 2 p.m.

Report filed by Jeff Mead, Yale Sports Publicity