Preseason WNIT Continues in Texas

The Yale huddle. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
The Yale huddle. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Yale-Niagara Friday 4:00 P.M. Central (5:00 P.M. Eastern) at Stephen F. Austin

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's basketball team continues play in the Preseason WNIT this weekend with a trip to Nacogdoches, Texas, where the Bulldogs are part of a four-team consolation round bracket at Stephen F. Austin. Yale plays Niagara in the first round Friday at 4:00 p.m. Central time (5:00 p.m. Eastern). The other consolation round game at that site Friday features Morgan State and Stephen F. Austin.

The winners of the first-round games play each other Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Central (5:30 p.m. Eastern), while the losers play each other Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Central (3:00 p.m. Eastern). That concludes the tournament for all four teams.

Bulldogs Fall at Northern Illinois in Preseason WNIT Opener

Yale traded runs with a high-powered Northern Illinois offense almost all night in the first round of the Preseason WNIT at NIU's Convocation Center last Friday. But in the end, the Huskies utilized a 14-0 run starting late in the third quarter to pull away for an 89-80 win and send the Bulldogs to the consolation round. Junior guard Roxy Barahman (Calabasas, Calif.) scored a career-high 29 points, while first-year forward Camilla Emsbo (Lakewood, Colo.) added 21.

Preseason WNIT Update

The Preseason WNIT features a three-game guarantee format, and all games are hosted by participating schools at their home facility.

  • The first two consolation rounds, featuring teams that lost their first-round game, take place Friday and Saturday. In addition to the four teams playing at Stephen F. Austin, four other teams are playing at Texas State. Those teams each play two consolation round games this weekend.
  • Iowa State has advanced to the Championship game (Sunday, 4:30 Eastern) with wins vs. Niagara, Northern Illinois and Auburn. On Sunday the Cyclones will host the winner of Thursday night's Marquette-Miami semifinal game.

This is the tournament's 25th season, and UConn holds the record for most championships won (three). For more information, visit https://www.womensnit.com/tournament-central.html.

Texas Bulldogs

For a trio of Bulldogs, the trip to Texas is a homecoming.

  • Sophomore guard Ellen Margaret Andrews (Dallas, Texas) played for Greenhill School, where she was the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Large Private Player of the Year as a senior and was a two-time team captain. She is a history major in Berkeley College at Yale. Her hometown is 160 miles from Nacogdoches.
  • First-year guard Mackenzie Hewitt (McKinney, Texas) played for Prosper High School, where she was all-region and team captain. She is a mechanical engineering and economics major in Berkeley College at Yale. Her hometown is 190 miles from Nacogdoches.
  • Senior guard Gabby Nelson (Hurst, Texas) played for Birdville High School, where she was all-state and a three-time team captain. Yale's captain, Nelson is an economics major in Ezra Stiles college at Yale. Her hometown is 190 miles from Nacogdoches.

Yale last played in Texas on Nov. 21, 2017, beating TCU 82-72. The Horned Frogs were ranked in the top 25 at one point last year, and the victory was part of a 7-3 start to the season for the Bulldogs.

Barahman and Emsbo Honored by Ivy League

Yale swept the Ivy League's weekly awards for the week of Nov. 5, as junior guard Roxy Barahman (Calabasas, Calif.) was named Ivy League Player of the Week and first-year forward Camilla Emsbo (Lakewood, Colo.) was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week.

Barahman set a career high in points twice last week, starting with 25 in the season-opening 80-61 win vs. Colgate Tuesday and then scoring 29 in the 89-80 loss at Northern Illinois in the first round of the Preseason WNIT Thursday. Her 27.0 points per game average was seven better than any other player in the Ivy League. She totaled 15 rebounds, eight assists and seven steals for the week -- putting her in the top eight in the league in per-game average for all those categories.

Emsbo scored 15 points in the season opener and 21 in the second game, placing her third in the league with an 18.0 points per game average. No other Ivy rookie averaged more than 15.0 points per game last week. Emsbo totaled 22 rebounds, tied with junior forward Megan Gorman (Vero Beach, Fla.) for the league lead, and had seven blocks (second in the league).

Emsbo was a five-star ESPN recruit out of Lakewood High, and ESPN ranked her as the No. 34 best recruit in the country (sixth-best at her position). She was the Gatorade Player of the Year for Colorado.

Yale Scoring More

Yale has scored 80 points in each of its first two games. The Bulldogs had reached the 80 point mark twice in 64 games prior to that. In general they have been trending up on offense recently, averaging 67.2 points per game last season -- a 10 percent improvement over the previous season's average (61.1 points per game). The 82 points the Bulldogs scored in the wins vs. Colgate and TCU last year represent the most they have scored in Allison Guth's tenure as Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball.  She is in her fourth season.

Road Warriors

Yale is in the middle of a stretch of seven straight road games and will play just one home game between now and Dec. 20. By the time the Bulldogs reach that point in the schedule, they will have played as many games in Ohio and Texas as in Connecticut (two) -- and they will have played more games in New York (three). From Dec. 20 through Feb. 2, the Bulldogs make up for all those road games by playing four of seven games in John J. Lee Amphitheater.

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 34-18 (.654) at John J. Lee Amphitheater. Here is a look at the team's home record in the past six 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: 8-5 (.615)
2018-19: 1-0 (1.000)

Scouting the Preseason WNIT Consolation Round Field at Stephen F. Austin

The winners of Friday's consolation round games at Stephen F. Austin will play each other Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Central (5:30 p.m. Eastern), while the losers will play each other Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Central (3:00 p.m. Eastern). All games take place at Stephen F. Austin. Here is a look at the other three teams in Yale's bracket:

  • Niagara (0-2, 0-0 MAAC), Yale's opponent Friday afternoon, has averaged 41.5 points per game in losing its first two games of the season. Jai Moore leads the team in scoring (11.5 points per game) and Emerald Ekpiteta leads the team in rebounding (8.5 points per game). The Purple Eagles' opponents have shot .562 from the field.
  • Morgan State (1-2, 0-0 MEAC), which plays Stephen F. Austin in the first consolation round Friday night, was picked to finish sixth in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference preseason poll. The Lady Bears' defense has held two of the team's first three opponents to 51 points or less.
  • Stephen F. Austin (0-1, 0-0 Southland) fell to No. 24/25 Miami 81-60 in the Preseason WNIT opener. The Ladyjacks are particularly tough at William R. Johnson Coliseum, compiling a 65-11 (.855) record there since the start of the 2013-14 season.

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