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Road Stretch Starts Saturday at Binghamton

Mary Ann Santucci. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Mary Ann Santucci. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – With only two home games in the next 64 days, the Yale women's basketball team is going to have to get used to playing away from the friendly confines of John J. Lee Amphitheater. The Bulldogs start a stretch of four straight road games, and nine of 11 games away from home, this Saturday at Binghamton (12:00 p.m., ESPN3, WNBF 1290 AM).

 

BULLDOGS EDGED BY PROVIDENCE

Yale (3-3, 0-0 Ivy League) dropped its second straight game Wednesday night at John J. Lee Amphitheater, falling to Providence 55-51. The Bulldogs took a 51-50 lead with 2:42 to play on a steal and layup by senior guard Tamara Simpson (North Babylon, N.Y.), but the Friars got a layup and three free throws down the stretch to pull out the win. Simpson led the Bulldogs with 17 points and nine steals, while senior forward Jen Berkowitz (Wayland, Mass.) had nine rebounds.

 

YALE ON THE OFFENSIVE

Despite being held to a season-low 51 points Wednesday, Yale is still putting up some impressive offensive numbers. The 82 points the Bulldogs scored in the wins vs. Colgate and TCU represent the most they have scored in Allison Guth's three seasons as Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball. Yale is averaging 69.5 points per game, second-best in the Ivy League and a 14 percent improvement over last season's average (61.1 points per game).

 

TRACKING THE THREE-POINTERS

Yale hit 10 three-pointers in the 82-56 win vs. Colgate Nov. 13, the most the Bulldogs have hit in a game since hitting 11 last Dec. 1. That included seven threes in the first quarter alone, led by three from first-year guard Tori Andrew (Wayzata, Minn.).

Last year the Bulldogs averaged 6.8 made threes per game; they are averaging 5.8 per game this year. In the three games that Andrew has played, the Bulldogs averaged 7.7 threes per game. Yale has hit seven or more three-pointers in three of six games this year.

 

CAPTAIN SANTUCCI

Senior guard Mary Ann Santucci (Seattle, Wash.) was elected captain for the 2017-18 season by her teammates. Santucci has missed just one game in her career, and has 50 starts -- including 26 starts last season. One of the team's top ballhandlers, she was second on the team in assists last season (2.2 per game) and shot a career-high 35.9 percent from three-point range. She averaged a career-high 4.6 points per game.

Santucci is an ecology and evolutionary biology major in Morse College. She graduated from Seattle Prep.

 

BERKOWITZ AMONG IVY LEAGUE LEADERS

At six-foot-two, senior forward Jen Berkowitz (Wayland, Mass.) is a formidable presence in the post for the Bulldogs. She is second on the team in scoring (15.5 points per game, eighth in the Ivy League) and leads the team in rebounding (9.0 rebounds per game, tied for third in the Ivy League). Her .529 field goal percentage is third in the league. She is on pace for career highs in all three categories.

Berkowitz returns after earning honorable mention All-Ivy League recognition last season. She led the team and finished sixth in the league with 13.4 points per game. She led the league in field goal percentage (.508) and was ninth in rebounding (6.9 per game).

Berkowitz is a history of science, medicine and public health major in Saybrook College. She graduated from The Rivers School.

 

SIMPSON TOPS TEAM IN SCORING AS REIGNING IVY DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Senior guard Tamara Simpson (North Babylon, N.Y.) leads the team in scoring and is sixth in the Ivy League, averaging 16.8 points per game -- a 75 percent improvement over last season (9.6 points per game). She leads the team in assists (3.2 per game, eighth in the Ivy League) and steals (3.8 per game, first in the Ivy League). She scored 21 points in the season-opening 62-51 win vs. LIU Brooklyn, shooting 6-for-12 from the field. She tied her career high with nine steals against Providence Nov. 29.

Simpson is the reigning Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year. She already holds the Yale career record for steals (255 entering Saturday's game). She led the league in steals last season with 79 and contributed offensively as well -- she was third on the team in points per game (9.6).

Simpson is a psychology major in Jonathan Edwards College. She graduated from Portledge School.

 

BARAHMAN MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME

Sophomore guard Roxy Barahman (Calabasas, Calif.) has been making up for lost time this season. Barahman was limited to 17 games (one start) last season, but is one of four players averaging 25.0 minutes or more per game this season and has made four starts. She is second on the team in assists (2.8 per game) and steals (2.7 per game). Her 5.0 rebounds per game place her third.

Barahman set a career high with six assists in the win at TCU Nov. 21, and set a career high with 11 rebounds in the win vs. Colgate Nov. 13. She scored a career-high 18 points at Kansas Nov. 19.

Barahman is in Davenport College and is a graduate of Oaks Christian.

 

GORMAN ON THE BOARDS

Sophomore forward Megan Gorman (Vero Beach, Fla.) remains one of Yale's most consistent rebounding presences. She is second on the team in rebounding this year (5.2 per game) after finishing third last year (5.1 per game). She has had at least four rebounds in five of six games this season, and had a season-high seven rebounds twice (vs. LIU Brooklyn and at TCU). Her career high in rebounds is 15, set Jan. 27 against Brown.

Gorman is in Trumbull College and is a graduate of Vero Beach High School.

 

ANDREWS EARNS STARTING SPOT

First-year forward Ellen Margaret Andrews (Dallas, Texas) earned her first career start when the Bulldogs played at TCU, near her hometown of Dallas, on Nov. 21. She wound up with a season-high nine rebounds in that game. She has now started three straight games, and scored a season-high eight points on Wednesday vs. Providence.

Andrews is in Berkeley College and is a graduate of Greenhill School.

 

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE

Yale has developed quite a home court advantage in recent years. Since the start of the 2014-15 season the Bulldogs have gone 27-15 (.643) at John J. Lee Amphitheater. Here is a look at the team's home record in the past five+ seasons:

2012-13: 6-7 (.462)
2013-14: 7-6 (.538)
2014-15: 8-4 (.667)
2015-16: 10-5 (.667)
2016-17: 7-4 (.636)
2017-18: 2-2 (.500)

 

CLASS OF 2021

Yale welcomes four first years to the roster for the 2017-18 season. All four were captains of their high school teams and bring impressive credentials to New Haven.

The newcomers include a pair of record-setting guards in Ale Aguirre (La Jolla, Calif.) and Tori Andrew (Wayzata, Minn.). Aguirre should be able to stretch opposing defenses: she finished seventh in the nation, second in California and first in San Diego for three-pointers made in a career. She set the national record for three-pointers in a game with 15, earning a mention on ESPN. Andrew is also a threat from deep. A three-time first team all-state selection, she set school career records for scoring, double-doubles and three-pointers made. Her high basketball IQ should enable her to contribute immediately.

The class also includes a pair of forwards. Ellen Margaret Andrews (Dallas, Texas) was the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Large Private Player of the Year as a senior. Her athleticism enabled her to be all-conference in three sports (basketball, track and volleyball), and she was the first player in her school's history to score 1,000 points in a season. Alex Cade (Shaker Heights, Ohio) was a two-time all-state selection and averaged a double-double her senior year (16.7 points, 13.8 rebounds) while adding 4.2 blocks per game.

 

A SEASON TO BUILD ON

The 2016-17 season was one to build on for the Yale women's basketball team. The Bulldogs were on a roll at the end, winning four of their last five games to finish with the team's best win total (15) since 2011-12. Four of the six players who averaged 20 or more minutes per game for Yale in 2016-17 return for 2017-18.

 

ALLISON GUTH, YALE'S JOEL E. SMILOW, CLASS OF 1954 HEAD COACH OF WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Known as a skilled recruiter throughout her 10-plus years of coaching, Allison Guth was named Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball in May of 2015, returning to the Bulldogs after serving as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator from 2010 to 2012. Guth is the 10th head coach in the history of the women's basketball program, which dates to the 1973-74 season.

The team has made steady progress under Guth, whose staff includes assistants Melissa D'Amico, Roman Owen and Jacinda Dunbar -- all also in their third season with Yale. The Bulldogs have improved their win total from season to season in each of the past two years. Last season they finished with their best win total (15) since 2011-12.

Prior to being named Yale's head coach, Guth spent three seasons at Northwestern as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, helping turn the women's basketball team into a national power. In her final season, the Wildcats went 23-9 (12-6 Big Ten) and qualified for an NCAA Tournament berth for the first time since 1997.

During her first stint in New Haven, Guth was instrumental in Yale's resurgence as a contender for the Ivy League championship and helped guide the Bulldogs to their best two-year record in 18 years and the most Ivy League wins in a two-year span (18; 10-4 in 2010-11, 8-6 in 2011-12) in the program's history. Guth previously served as an assistant coach at DePaul, Missouri and Loyola-Chicago.

Guth, who led Buffalo Grove (Illinois) High School to the 2000 Class AA State title, and her high school teammates were inducted into the Illinois Coaches Basketball Association Hall of Fame in April of 2013.

A three-time letter winner at Illinois, Guth helped the Illini reach the 2003 NCAA Tournament after earning a spot as a walk-on and then earning a scholarship. An Academic All-Big Ten selection, Guth also played a season with the Illinois women's golf team before graduating in 2004. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business before getting her Master's degree in educational leadership from DePaul in 2010.

 

SCOUTING BINGHAMTON

Binghamton (4-3, 0-0 America East) is 2-0 at home this season, with wins against SUNY Cortland (90-36) and Penn (77-72). The Bearcats stand out in one particular category: blocked shots. Thanks to six-foot-one center Alyssa James, who is second in the nation in blocks per game (4.71), Binghamton as a team is third in the nation in blocks per game (8.7). The Bearcats also like to launch the ball from downtown, averaging nearly 27 three-point attempts per game. Imani Watkins is the team's top scorer, averaging 19.7 points per game, and she has hoisted up 67 three-point attempts in seven games. She also has a team-best 27 assists. James leads the team in rebounding (7.6 per game).

Yale beat Binghamton 57-48 in the season opener last year, led by 12 points each from Lena Munzer '17 and senior guard Tamara Simpson (North Babylon, N.Y.). Munzer and sophomore forward Megan Gorman (Vero Beach, Fla.) had seven rebounds each.

 

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

 

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