NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A road sweep of Columbia and Cornell last weekend helped the Yale women's basketball team move into position to earn a spot in the Ivy League Tournament with three weekends left in the regular season. There won't be much need for scoreboard watching this weekend, as the third-place Bulldogs host the team that is one game behind them in the standings Friday night (Dartmouth, 6:00 p.m., Ivy League Network) and the team that they are tied for third with on Saturday night (Harvard, 6:00 p.m., ESPN3, Ivy League Network). Yale enters the weekend one game behind second-place Penn and two games behind first-place Princeton.
ROAD SWEEP MOVES YALE INTO THIRD
Yale's road sweep last weekend -- a 73-50 win at Columbia and a 65-55 win at Cornell -- marked the Bulldogs' first Ivy road sweep since beating those same two teams Feb. 15-16, 2013. Senior forward Jen Berkowitz (Wayland, Mass.) led the team in scoring each night, scoring 21 points Friday night (shooting 62.5 percent) in the win at Columbia and 18 points Saturday night (shooting 80.0 percent) in the win at Cornell. She was named Ivy League Co-Player of the Week on Monday. Sophomore guard Roxy Barahman (Calabasas, Calif.) nearly had a triple-double on Friday night, finishing with 15 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.
The two wins pulled the Bulldogs into a tie for third in the Ivy League standings. Yale and Harvard are both 5-3, trailing Princeton (7-1) and Penn (6-2).
BREAST CANCER AWARENESS WEEKEND
The Bulldogs will host their annual Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend this Friday and Saturday at Lee Amphitheater. A banner will be displayed in the lobby of Payne Whitney Gym, where fans can write the names of those they know who have been impacted by cancer. The Bulldogs will wear pink socks during the games.
Yale will also be giving free pizza to Yale students at Friday's game.
BULLDOGS TAKE "PLAY4KAY" FREE THROW CHALLENGE
Yale is taking part in the "Play4Kay Free Throw Challenge" throughout the month of February, raising money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Bulldogs fans can support the team's efforts by pledging for every free throw the team makes this month.
Make your pledge to support Yale's "Play4Kay" fundraiser today at https://pledgeit.org/yaleplay4kay.
After four games this month, the Bulldogs have made 45 free throws. They have four games left, starting this Friday vs Dartmouth, to reach their goal of $1,000 raised. Louisville is the current leader in the Play4Kay Free Throw Challenge with an estimated $4,360 raised so far.
The Kay Yow Cancer Fund's mission is to extend and improve the lives of those who are battling cancer, on our way to finding a cure, by raising money for research and assisting the underserved.
BROADCASTS AVAILABLE ON IVY LEAGUE NETWORK
All of Yale's remaining regular season games are scheduled to be available on the Ivy League Network (ILN), available at http://www.ivyleaguenetwork.com and on Apple TV, Roku and the ILN app for Android and Apple devices.
Saturday's Yale-Harvard game will also be available on ESPN3 at http://www.espn3.com.
The Ivy League men's and women's basketball tournaments return to Philadelphia, where they will take place Saturday and Sunday, March 10-11, 2018. The top four teams will earn berths to the tournament, with the semifinals on Saturday and the championships on Sunday. All six games will be broadcast live on ESPN's networks. For tickets and more information please visit IvyMadness.com.
BULLDOGS ON THE OFFENSIVE
Yale is averaging 69.2 points per game, a 13 percent improvement over last season's average (61.1 points per game).
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 leads the Ivy League in turnover margin at 4.76, with Penn (4.43) the only other league team above 0.48. The Bulldogs' opponents are averaging 20.8 turnovers per game, the most in the league and 24th nationally, and Yale is averaging a league-best 10.86 steals per game (26th nationally).
TRACKING THE THREE-POINTERS
Yale hit 11 three-pointers in the 73-59 win vs. Princeton Feb. 2, the most the Bulldogs have hit in a game since hitting 11 on Dec. 1, 2016. First-year guard Tori Andrew (Wayzata, Minn.) hit four threes.
Last year the Bulldogs averaged 6.8 made threes per game; they are averaging 6.6 per game this year. In the 11 games that Andrew has played, the Bulldogs have totaled 79 threes (7.2 per game). Yale has hit six or more three-pointers in 13 of the last 15 games.
Seven Bulldogs have attempted at least 25 three-pointers this year, and three of them are shooting 30 percent or better -- Andrew is at 36.7 percent, sophomore guard Roxy Barahman (Calabasas, Calif.) is at 32.7 and junior guard Gabby Nelson (Hurst, Texas) is at 32.0. Of the 26 shots Nelson has taken this year, 25 have been three-pointers (96 percent).
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 51 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. She is averaging 3.6 points per game this year.
Santucci earned her third start of the season Dec. 2, posting a season-high 12 points in the win at Binghamton. She was 3-for-6 from three-point range.
Santucci is a pre-med ecology and evolutionary biology major in Morse College. She graduated from Seattle Prep. She has volunteered for Catholic Community Services helping elderly/disabled people who cannot leave their homes.
BERKOWITZ NAMED IVY CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK
After leading Yale to its first Ivy League road sweep in five years this past weekend, senior forward Jen Berkowitz (Wayland, Mass.) has been named Ivy League Co-Player of the Week. The league office announced the honor on Monday.
Berkowitz led the team in scoring each night, scoring 21 points Friday night (shooting 62.5 percent) in the win at Columbia and 18 points Saturday night (shooting 80.0 percent) in the win at Cornell. She had five rebounds Friday and eight Saturday.
Berkowitz leads the team in scoring (15.3 points per game, sixth in the Ivy League). She leads the team in rebounding (7.6 rebounds per game, eighth in the Ivy League) and has the league's best field goal percentage (.571). She is on pace for career highs in all three categories.
Berkowitz tied her career high with 26 points in the win at Stony Brook, one of five times this season she has scored 20 or more points in a game. She had a career-high 16 rebounds at Kansas, and has reached double-digits in rebounds five times this year. She has five double-doubles.
Berkowitz has 937 career points, putting her 63 away from joining the 1,000-point club. She would need to average 10.5 points per game for the remaining six regular season games to reach that milestone.
Berkowitz earned 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 pre-med history of science, medicine and public health major in Saybrook College. She graduated from The Rivers School. She was recently profiled in the MetroWest Daily News.
RECORD-BREAKING YEAR FOR SIMPSON
Senior guard Tamara Simpson (North Babylon, N.Y.) became the 20th player in Yale history to reach the 1,000 career point mark with a layup in the first quarter against Indiana at Lee Amphitheater on Dec. 21. She went on to score a career-high 31 points that day.
Those were the latest milestones in Simpson's career, as she enjoys her best season to date. She is second on the team in scoring, averaging 15.2 points per game (sixth in the Ivy League) -- a 58 percent improvement over last season (9.6 points per game). She also leads the Ivy League in steals (4.7 per game, 2.1 more than any other player) and is 11th in assists (2.6 per game). As of Feb. 14 she was third nationally in steals per game. She is on pace to finish the regular season with 122 steals, within striking distance of the Ivy League record (125, Betsy Gilmore, Dartmouth, 1993-94).
Simpson scored 21 points in the season-opening 62-51 win vs. LIU Brooklyn, shooting 6-for-12 from the field, then matched that total Dec. 12 in the 70-49 win at Saint Peter's. She tied her career high with nine steals against Providence Nov. 29, matching that total in the win at Stony Brook Dec. 6.
Simpson now has 1,155 career points. Prior to her the last Bulldog to reach the 1,000-point milestone was Janna Graf '14, who finished her career in 2014 with 1,151 points. Graf scored her 1,000th point on Dec. 29, 2013. Yale's all-time leading scorer is Mary Kalich '95 (1,663 points).
Simpson is the reigning Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year. She already holds the Yale career record for steals. Her 326 career steals place her third on the Ivy League's all-time list, with Gilmore the leader at 370 and Claire Tomasiewicz of Princeton second at 329. As of Feb. 14 she was second among active NCAA players in career steals. Her career average (3.10) places her fourth. 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.
Simpson is a pre-med 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 three Bulldogs averaging 30.0 minutes or more per game this season and has made 19 starts. She leads the team in assists (4.0 per game, third in the Ivy League), is second in steals (2.0 per game, fifth in the Ivy League) and is third in rebounds (4.4 per game).
Barahman reached a career high in assists with nine in the 73-50 win at Columbia Feb. 9. She set a career high with 11 rebounds in the win vs. Colgate Nov. 13. She scored a career-high 24 points at Binghamton Dec. 2.
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 (6.2 per game) after finishing third last year (5.1 per game). She has 74 rebounds in the last nine games (8.2 per game), including a career-high 16 in the 57-39 win at Dartmouth Jan. 27.
Gorman is in Trumbull College and is a graduate of Vero Beach High School. She is an economics major.
ANDREWS SOLIDIFIES 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 16 straight games.
Andrews scored a season-high 16 points against Hartford Dec. 29, shooting 6-for-9 (.667). She has scored double-digit points in eight of the last 12 games. She is 32-for-40 (.800) from the free throw line, best among Bulldogs with 11 or more attempts.
Andrews is in Berkeley College and is a graduate of Greenhill School. She writes for the Yale Daily News, covering sports such as track & field and volleyball. Her sister Camille plays soccer at Bucknell, where she is a junior. Her father, Jaye, is a 1985 Bucknell grad who is in the Bucknell Hall of Fame after scoring 1,535 points for the Bison basketball team.
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 29-17 (.630) 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: 4-4 (.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.
Dartmouth (12-9, 4-4 Ivy League) has dropped five straight road games, including a pair at Penn and Princeton last weekend. The Big Green fell to Yale 57-39 in Hanover, N.H., Jan. 27 -- their lowest point total since falling to Penn 68-38 on Feb. 4, 2017.
Dartmouth is one of the best shooting teams Yale will face. The Big Green leads the Ivy League in field goal percentage (.430) and three-point field goal percentage (.361) and is second in free-throw percentage (.763). Guard Cy Lippold leads the league in assists per game (5.4).
Harvard (13-8, 5-3 Ivy League) got swept on the road at Princeton and Penn last weekend, bringing an end to the Crimson's six-game winning streak that included a 97-73 win vs. Yale at Lavietes Pavilion Jan. 26. The Crimson ranks third in the league in scoring (68.4 points per game) but has been hurt by a -2.33 turnover margin.
Guard Katie Benzan is eighth in the league in scoring (13.7 points per game). The Bulldogs held her to 11 points Jan. 26, her lowest point total in the past seven games. She leads the league and is sixth nationally in three-point field goal percentage (.471) and averages 3.5 made threes per game. Her 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio is second in the league.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity