Q&A with Yale coach Allison Guth

Yale coach Allison Guth has a lot to look forward to in her fourth season leading the rising program. (Ivy League Digital Network)

We caught up with Yale women’s basketball coach Allison Guth, who is embarking on her fourth season helming the Bulldogs and fresh off a recent contract extension through the 2023-24 season. 

Ivy Hoops Online: Not many teams have an opportunity to win their last game of the season. Yale did last year, winning the WBI. What was that experience like?

Allison Guth: Anytime your team can experience a “one and done” tournament setting is a benefit to the growth of your program. Having your back against the wall and needing to get the “W” to advance proves a mental toughness and fortitude.  Our team was able to grow as a result of winning one in a row four times to earn a postseason championship.

IHO: You did suffer some major graduation losses. Can you assess how that impacts the team?

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Q&A with Yale coach James Jones

Ivy Hoops Online caught up recently with Yale coach James Jones.
Ivy Hoops Online: Please tell us about how Jordan Bruner is progressing after his injury last season (a torn meniscus that kept him out in for the entire 2017-18 campaign).
James Jones: Jordan is in great shape. He’s progressed well with his injury and is looking forward to returning to game action.

IHO: You have a group of talented freshmen. Do you expect them to get much playing time?
JJ: All of our freshmen have an opportunity to help us this season. It will mainly depend on how quickly they pick up our actions on both sides of the ball.
IHO: Have you seen, since your first days as Yale coach, as much strength throughout the Ivies as in this upcoming season?
JJ: The overall talent in the league has improved greatly over the years, as well as all the overall level of each team.
IHO: You open up in China against California on Nov. 9. How did that game develop?
JJ: We were approached by the Pac-12 with this once in a lifetime opportunity, and it was an experience we couldn’t pass on.

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Yale women’s basketball follows record-setting season with high-profile incoming class

While missing out on the first Ivy Tournament in 2017, the Yale women’s team completed the season on a roll, winning four of its last five games, including victories against third place Harvard and league champion Penn. Entering her third year as head coach, Allison Guth hoped to use that momentum to catapult her Bulldogs into the conference’s upper division in 2018. On the strength of its senior stars, the tenacious Elis (19-13, 8-6 Ivy) earned the fourth spot in last season’s Ivy Madness, as well as an invitation to the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) Tournament.

After strong wins in the first two rounds of the WBI, Yale defeated South Alabama in the semifinals, coming back from an 11 point deficit with two minutes remaining in regulation. A 54-50 victory at Central Arkansas gave the Bulldogs its record setting 19th win and the WBI championship, the first postseason title of any kind for an Ivy League women’s program. Coach Guth will need to find a way to replace the production and leadership from its recently graduated class, if the Elis want to get back to the postseason and secure home court advantage in the third Ivy Tournament.

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Play BOLDness

In case you missed it, Yale women’s basketball assistant coach and Play BOLD co-founder Melissa D’Amico encapsulated the noble endeavor that is Play BOLD into a telling blog post last week.

A nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering communities by mobilizing people and resources on international missions to the most disadvantaged areas of the world, Play BOLD was the vehicle for Ivy women’s basketball players Alexandra Maund (Yale), McKenna Dale (Brown), Melissa Heath (Brown), Dominique Leonidas (Brown), and Eleah Parker (Penn) and 11 others to teach and learn in Eldoret, Kenya, where they taught hoops to underprivileged pupils on grass courts with no nets.

“I have learned that joy transcends material possessions, clean water and full stomachs,” Maund wrote.

Read more of D’Amico’s post here and learn more about the Play BOLD mission at playbold.org.

Yale defeats Central Arkansas, 54-50, to take WBI championship

After spending most of Wednesday traveling 1,500 miles from New Haven to Atlanta to Little Rock to Conway, Ark., the Yale women’s basketball team had enough energy left in the tank to take down the University of Central Arkansas, 54-50, for the 2018 Women’s Basketball Invitational championship.

In a defensive contest that came down to the wire, first team All-Ivy senior forward Jen Berkowitz scored the final four points for the Bulldogs (19-13) in the final minute to seal the record setting victory in front of a jammed packed 3,500-plus partisan Farris Center crowd.

The Bulldogs struggled offensively for the second straight game, hitting only three of their first 11 shots in the opening 10 minutes.  The Sugar Bears (25-10), meanwhile, shot 7-for-14, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc, to take a 18-11 lead after the first quarter. Yale fared slightly better in the second quarter, shooting 38 percent from the field, but its defense began to lock down Central Arkansas, holding the home team to 31 percent shooting.  After 20 minutes of action, the Elis found themselves down only 27-24.

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Yale outlasts South Alabama in WBI semifinal instant classic

The Yale women’s basketball team somehow survived and advanced in an instant classic in the WBI semifinal against visiting South Alabama, roaring back from 11 points down with under two minutes to go to pull off a stunning comeback 76-74 win in overtime.

found itself home for the first time in twenty eight days, but could not find its shooting touch until the game’s sixteenth minute. By that time, the Bulldogs (18-13) were 1 for their first 25 and down 19 to the visiting Jaguars of South Alabama from the Sun Belt conference (21-13).  The Elis then went on a 11-2 run to close out the first half down only 29-19.

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Bulldogs’ bench shines as Yale moves into WBI semifinals

The Yale women (17-13) visited Binghamton (20-12) in the second round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI), and held on for a 70-64 victory to move into the tournament semifinal.  With the victory, the Bulldogs earned their second-ever postseason win and tied a program record for number of wins in a season. They are now set to face South Alabama at the John J. Lee Amphitheater on Saturday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. on the Ivy League Network.

With the score tied at eight, four minutes into the game, the Elis broke things open with a 16-2 run over the next 8:10. They extended the lead to a high of 19 late in the second quarter before closing out the half with a 17-point lead over the Bearcats. With Jen Berkowitz limited to 11 minutes due to foul trouble, junior forward Alexandra Maund put up six points (3-for-3 shooting) and six rebounds against Alyssa James, the three-time America East Defensive Player of the Year. First-year guard Tori Andrews, who missed the team’s December game against Binghamton due to an injury, came off the bench and went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc to lead Yale with 10 points.

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Women’s Ivy Tournament teams continue onward in postseason

For the second consecutive year, all four participants in the women’s Ivy Tournament have earned postseason bids.  Following top seeded Princeton’s championship victory over second place Penn early Sunday evening, the Tigers clinched the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and Penn claimed the conference’s automatic qualifying spot in the Women’s NIT.  On Monday night, Harvard received an at-large bid to the WNIT and Yale was selected for the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI).

The Tigers were chosen as the No. 12 seed in the Kansas City regional, where they will face No. 5 Maryland in Raleigh on Friday at noon on ESPN2 and online at ESPN3.  For Princeton, this is their ninth straight postseason appearance and seventh trip to the Big Dance.  The Quakers will be going up against Albany at the Palestra on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. on the Ivy League Network.  Penn is competing in its sixth straight postseason tournament and its second trip to the WNIT.  The Crimson will travel to the Bronx on Friday night at 7:00 pm to take on Fordham on the A-10 Network, as they make their 14th overall postseason tournament, eighth all-time WNIT showing and sixth WNIT appearance in the last seven seasons.  The Bulldogs will visit Northeastern on Thursday night at 7:00 pm on Northeastern’s NUxtreme.  This is the team’s first postseason play under third-year head coach Allison Guth, and the first of any kind since a 2011 WNIT bid.

Here is a short primer on the Ivy representatives’ opponents for this week’s action:

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Princeton bests Yale, 78-57, to advance to Ivy League Tournament final

In the teams’ first two matchups, Yale came out of the gate quickly against Princeton, the Ivy League’s regular season champion.  Tonight’s 78-57 Princeton win over the Bulldogs was a different story.

The No. 1 Tigers came out playing more aggressively and capitalized on early foul trouble for the Bulldogs’ Roxy Barahman to open up a nine-point first-half lead. No. 4 Yale managed to make it a five-point game with 4:59 to go in the first half, but three consecutive three-pointers from Carlie Littlefield and Tia Weledji upped the lead to 15 and the Tigers eventually went into the locker room up 39-23.

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Ivy League Tournament semifinals – men’s recap

No. 1 Harvard 74, No. 4 Cornell 55

Harvard (18-12, 13-2 Ivy) looked pretty shaky at first, getting sped up by Cornell’s aggressive defense, committing three turnovers in the first 3:20 and sending Cornell (12-16, 6-9) into the bonus 9:14 into the game. The Crimson trailed 28-21 with less than three minutes to go in the first half, shooting 2-for-11 from long range and struggling with a patient Cornell offense firing on all cylinders.

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