BOCA RATON, Fla. – With another stifling defensive effort, the Yale women's basketball team earned the FAU Holiday Classic Championship Saturday afternoon at FAU Arena. The Bulldogs limited North Carolina A&T to 28% shooting en route to the 59-49 win -- Yale's fifth in a row and fifth straight holding its opponent to 55 or fewer points.
"We really came into this holiday tournament hungry," said Allison Guth, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "Our focus was on taking care of business. We weren't happy with the way we played in our previous tournament [the Preseason WNIT]. Any time you can put your team in a situation like this, playing back-to-back games, it helps prepare you for the Ivy League season."
Yale (10-5, 0-0 Ivy League) led throughout, jumping out to a 17-10 lead after the first quarter and holding a 28-16 advantage at halftime. The Bulldogs held the Aggies to 16 percent shooting in the first half and had a 28-23 rebounding advantage thanks in large part to 11 first-half rebounds from junior guard Roxy Barahman -- 10 on the defensive end.
NC A&T (3-10, 0-0 MEAC), the defending MEAC regular-season and tournament champions, rallied in the third. The Aggies got the deficit down to six multiple times, but the Bulldogs eventually re-established a double-digit advantage when sophomore guard Tori Andrew drained a three-pointer at 1:42. A late three-point play by NC A&T got the score to 42-35 Yale heading into the final quarter.
"In the third quarter, they got hot," said Guth. "We knew this is the type of team that is capable of scoring. And they did a great job with their defense, pressuring the ball and forcing us into 19 turnovers. I'm really proud of the way our kids grinded this game out."
The Aggies continued to hang around throughout the fourth, but never got closer than with six. Andrew, who finished with 11 points, hit two more three-pointers to help keep the Bulldogs' lead safe.
Junior forward Megan Gorman's driving layup and a free throw with 1:58 left got the lead back up to 10 and capped a 12 point, seven-rebound day. She had 17 rebounds and 11 points in Friday's 58-52 win vs. Saint Louis in the first round of the tournament.
This tournament was a homecoming both for Gorman (who is from Vero Beach, Fla.) and Andrew (who grew up in Florida before moving to Minnesota for high school).
"Tori Andrew had an incredible second half," said Guth. "I'm very happy for her and Megan, getting the chance to play in Florida."
Barahman and Gorman were named to the all-tournament team, with Gorman taking MVP honors. Barahman led Yale with 18 points and 14 rebounds Saturday. First-year forward Camilla Emsbo added six points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore forward Alex Cade had nine points and eight rebounds.
Yale is now 8-2 in its last 10 games. The Bulldogs next play on January 18 at Brown.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity