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Defense Stymies Dartmouth for 64-49 Win

Gabby Nelson. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Gabby Nelson. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Coming off an emotional 65-62 win vs. archrival Harvard Friday night, the Yale women's basketball team faced a tough challenge Saturday at Lee Amphitheater. On the first weekend of back-to-back Ivy League games, the Bulldogs took on a Dartmouth team that had cruised to an 81-61 win at Brown the night before. To guard against a letdown against the Big Green, Allison Guth -- Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball -- called upon some familiar faces.

"Two of our former captains, Whitney Wyckoff ['16] and Liz Haley ['17], came back to speak to the team at shootaround this afternoon," said Guth. "They are two of the toughest kids I've coached. They talked about the importance of the back-to-back and focused our team's attention really well."

The outcome of Friday's game had been in doubt until the final seconds, when junior guard Roxy Barahman drained a memorable buzzer-beating three pointer from long distance. On Saturday it was a different story, as the Bulldogs took the lead for good with seven minutes left in the first quarter and went on to win 64-49.

That was the second-lowest point total of the season for Dartmouth. Combined with the way Yale won Friday -- holding Harvard to six points below its season scoring average -- Saturday's game validated the progress the team has made in the "pack-line" defense that was installed for this season.

"The pack is back," said Guth. "We held Dartmouth to 49, and I think defense is what won it versus Harvard."

Yale (13-6, 3-1 Ivy League) jumped out to a 22-12 lead in the first quarter thanks largely to a decisive rebounding edge, 17-4. That enabled the Bulldogs to get 12 second-chance points, while Dartmouth got none. Sophomore forward Alex Cade led the way offensively with nine points.

Dartmouth (8-9, 1-3 Ivy League) got as close as five in the second quarter, but the Bulldogs built the lead back to nine heading into halftime thanks to another buzzer beater from Barahman -- this one a three-pointer to make the score 32-23.

The Bulldogs got the lead to 14 by the end of the third as they continued to play some stifling defense. First-year guard Mackenzie Hewitt delivered Yale's second block of the quarter to thwart a Dartmouth fast break with three minutes left, and junior guard Megan Gorman hit a buzzer-beating three to give Yale a 51-37 lead heading into the fourth. Dartmouth got no closer than 12 the rest of the way.

Cade finished with 15 points -- her second-highest total of the season -- and a career-high 14 rebounds.

"I was so proud of that kid," said Guth. "What's really special right now is we have a really talented group of bigs … We call Cade our 'Energizer bunny' … That kid works her tail off. I'm glad she was rewarded."

Cade and first-year forward Camilla Emsbo tied for the team lead with 15 points each. They were a big reason for the Bulldogs' 28-18 advantage in points in the paint, another sign of progress.

"We wanted to score inside-out," said Guth. "Our team is buying in to that."

The Bulldogs racked up 19 assists -- their most in a game since having 20 at Brown Jan. 19, 2018 -- led by six from Barahman. They committed just 13 turnovers.

Yale has now won 10 in a row at Lee dating back to a 69-63 win vs. Harvard on Feb. 17, 2018.  With a 3-1 league record, the Bulldogs are tied for second with Harvard -- a half-game behind league-leading Penn and a half-game in front of fourth-place Princeton. The Bulldogs face the Tigers next Friday in New Jersey.

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Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity