NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's basketball team knew that it would be facing some of the best shooters it has seen so far this season Wednesday night against Providence at Lee Amphitheater. The Friars entered the game leading the Big East in field-goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage, shooting nearly 47 percent from the field and 49 percent from three-point range. They wound up performing as advertised, shooting 53 percent -- but the Bulldogs still nearly came away with the win. A 51-50 Yale lead slipped away in the final two minutes, as a layup and three free throws down the stretch enabled Providence to best the Bulldogs 55-51.
"We scouted their big three, and they were all about 50 percent (shooting)," said sophomore guard Roxy Barahman, who had 13 points and a team-high three assists. "We really tried to stop them. We needed to do a better job of covering shooters."
Senior guard Tamara Simpson led the Bulldogs with 17 points and tied her career high with nine steals. That defensive effort helped Yale hold Providence to its second-lowest point total of the season, but ultimately the Bulldogs could not avoid their second straight loss after last week's thrilling 82-72 win at TCU.
"This was a really tough loss," said Simpson. "It was different from the Army game (which Yale lost 82-65 on Sunday). This was a one- or two-possession game. We have to work on finishing in the fourth quarter."
After a three by Simpson and a layup by Barahman gave Yale a 5-0 lead, the Friars eventually tied the game 7-7 and the Bulldogs would never lead by that many again. Providence (5-2, 0-0 Big East) built a six-point lead late in the second quarter, but a Simpson three at the end left Yale trailing just 27-24 at halftime.
Yale (3-3, 0-0 Ivy League) fell behind by seven in the third but rallied to tie the game on a three by junior guard Gabby Nelson and then take the lead on a three by Barahman at the 3:43 mark. The Bulldogs kept that lead until midway through the fourth, when an 11-3 run by Providence swung momentum back in the Friars' favor.
Still, a steal and layup by Simpson with 2:42 to play put the Bulldogs back on top, 51-50. After the Bulldogs missed a chance to extend that lead on a layup, Providence capitalized as forward Ny-Asia Franklin's layup with 1:47 to play gave the lead to the Friars.
After a missed three-pointer by Providence, Yale missed a pair of chances to re-take the lead, and Providence called time with 41.8 seconds left. The Friars ran the clock down but missed a three-point attempt. But when Franklin came up with the rebound, the Bulldogs were forced to foul twice to get Providence to the line. There, guard Clara Che made the first but missed the second -- but forward Andrea Cooper came down with the rebound with six seconds left. Guard Jovana Nogic sank two free throws with four seconds left to put the game out of reach.
Nogic finished with 18 points, including 13 in the second half, as she shot 5-for-11 from the field. Franklin added 12 points, shooting 6-for-9.
Senior forward Jen Berkowitz had a game-high nine rebounds for Yale; she and Simpson both played the entire game. Sophomore forward Megan Gorman added six rebounds. First-year forward Ellen Margaret Andrews, making her third straight start, had a season-high eight points and helped Yale to a 30-14 edge in points in the paint.
The Bulldogs now must regroup starting with a game Saturday at Binghamton. Nine of Yale's next 11 games will be on the road.
"This is a game that defines us, because we have to respond," said Allison Guth, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity