STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Behind a combined 39 points from Jen Berkowitz and Tamara Simpson, Yale earned its fourth straight victory with a 66-52 win over Wagner. Yale trailed by one point at halftime and entered the final frame tied at 40-40, but the Bulldogs pulled away late, outscoring the Seahawks 26-12 in the fourth quarter. Yale improves to 5-2 on the season while Wagner suffers its fourth straight loss and falls to 1-5.
After earning Ivy League Player of the Week honors on Monday, junior Jen Berkowitz backed up the accolade with a season-high 20 points, to go along with 7 rebounds. Berkowitz said the game was "a little messy," but that the Bulldogs made some key adjustments to turn things in their favor. "We finally figured out we could score on the inside, which we did to get the win," Berkowitz said. After going 2-for-7 with 5 points in the first half, she went 7-for-11 with 15 points in the second half.
Joel E. Smilow '54 head coach Allison Guth agreed with Berkowitz's assessment, saying, "we wanted to get the ball inside in the second half. That was a huge adjustment – we wanted her to have high-percentage shots at the rim, and she was able to convert on those." Yale trailed by as many as 7 points in the second quarter, but halftime adjustments paid off for the Bulldogs.
Junior Tamara Simpson set season highs with 19 points and 7 steals. She said that the long road trip led to the team's sluggish start (the game was delayed 45 minutes after the team bus was stuck in traffic). But she added, "After halftime we kind of got into the groove of things, and we had a really strong fourth quarter…[I was] feeding off of my teammates' energy and hard work and the steals just came, and the points too." Guth said of Simpson's performance, "She has that capability every night…She provided sparks and momentum shifts…For her to be able to be effective both behind the arc and at the rim is going to make her really a tough player to guard."
Alexandra Maund also had a strong performance, leading the team with a career-high 9 rebounds in 13 minutes of play. The sophomore missed all of last season due to injury, and her role on the team is growing as her first full season progresses.
After dropping their first two road games of the year, the Bulldogs have won their last three. They will look to close their current road trip with a perfect 4-0 record when they face LIU Brooklyn tomorrow night (Thursday) at 7 p.m. Then Yale heads back home to face Albany on Saturday for the third game in four days.
Berkowitz said it will be important to "get a lot of rest. It's prepping us for Ivy Leagues where we play two in a row." This rigorous stretch will be a good benchmark for where Yale stands prior to the start of Ivy League play in January. Guth said, "This is a tough stretch for our kids. We were, with this trip, trying to simulate an Ivy Friday-Saturday back-to-back, and so we'll see how we respond after a night like that. I think we have a lot to prove tomorrow." Guth was happy to get a win on the road, but she and the rest of the team are hungry to keep their winning streak alive tomorrow.
Filed by Andy Dougherty, Yale Sports Publicity