NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – After winning two straight overtime nail-biters on the road, the Yale women's basketball team found a different way to win Saturday afternoon at Central Connecticut State. The Bulldogs broke open a one-point game at Detrick Gym by outscoring the Blue Devils 28-6 in the second quarter, leading by as many as 25 points. Central got no closer than within 10 points of Yale the rest of the way, and the Bulldogs eventually came away with a 75-62 victory.
A total of four Bulldogs scored in double-digits, as senior forward Jen Berkowitz led with a double-double -- 16 points and 10 rebounds. Senior guard Tamara Simpson added 10 points and five steals. First-year forward Ellen Margaret Andrews had a career-high 14 points and sophomore guard Roxy Barahman added 12 points and four assists.
CCSU (0-9, 0-0 NEC) took the lead briefly after opening with a three-pointer. But Yale went ahead 5-3 on a three by Andrews two minutes in, and led 13-12 after the first quarter.
Yale (6-3, 0-0 Ivy League) then took control of the game in the second quarter, which included a stretch of nine minutes in which the Bulldogs went on a 28-4 run. Yale shot 71 percent (10-for-14) for the quarter, hitting on two of four three-pointers. That included the first three-pointer of the year for junior forward Alexandra Maund, and a three by sophomore guard Jessica Steffen that sent the Bulldogs into halftime up 41-18. Those were Steffen's first points of the season.
Yale had limited CCSU to a 6-for-21 (29 percent) shooting performance in the first half and had a 23-11 rebounding edge. The Bulldogs allowed CCSU just two field goals in the second quarter.
"I was happy with the way we defended [in the second quarter]," said Allison Guth, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "I think that's what converted into some scoring opportunities. I thought [sophomore forward] Bronwyn Davies did an awesome job in our trap and our pressure with our full-court press package. She really applied a lot of pressure up there to turn them over. We shared the basketball and played unselfishly. That was really fun to see."
The Blue Devils regrouped in the second half, however. Central got within 18 midway through the third quarter, then continued to whittle away at the lead in the fourth. A three-pointer by guard Morgan Johnson with 32 seconds left trimmed Yale's lead to 10, 71-61. But four straight points from sophomore guard/forward Aerial Chavarin after that helped seal the win.
The game marked the Yale basketball debut for Chavarin, who has played soccer for the Bulldogs for two years and joined the basketball team right after soccer season ended.
"Aerial is a really special kid in the way that she is so incredibly positive," said Guth. "She's coming from a winner's mentality coming off her soccer season [when the Bulldogs went 11-4-2]. Our kids are big fans of her, just as a great teammate. It was fun to get her in the mix today."
Chavarin, Steffen and junior guard Gabby Nelson combined for 10 points in 12 minutes, helping the Bulldogs to a 23-18 advantage in bench scoring.
"You look across the board at people that are serving our team in a lot of capacities and we talk about being ready when your name is called," said Guth. "To get those guys in there and have them be celebrated for what they can bring to the table is really important."
And while the Bulldogs ultimately came away with a win for the third straight time, Saturday's game also showed that there is still much work to be done.
"The thing we're taking away most from this game is we weren't happy with our second-half effort," said Guth. "We held a team to 18 points in the first half but gave up 44 in the second half. With the goals that we have, we've got to be better and more consistent."
Yale visits Saint Peter's Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity