Yale rallies to win season opener over Providence and improve to 6-2 at the same time

It took 28 days, but the Yale women finally won its season opener, coming from behind to defeat previously unbeaten Providence, 82-79.

The Bulldogs (6-2) and Friars (5-1) first met on Nov. 5, with Providence taking a 42-33 lead after the first two quarters.  A problem with the scoreboard kept the teams from continuing the contest, forcing them to reschedule the game to Tuesday.

Yale’s Tori Andrew did not play in the official opener, as she was recovering from a concussion, and Erin Hill was out then due to injury as well.  Since Andrew and Hill were not in the official scorebook on Nov. 5 but were available Tuesday, the officials awarded Providence two free throws before the start of the third quarter. (Andrew played 19 minutes of the second half while Hill did not enter the game.) Kyra Spiwak hit both to give the Friars an 11-point advantage.

After a Chanell Williams jumper extended the Friars’ lead to 17 two and a half minutes into the third quarter, the Bulldogs went on a 19-2 run to tie the game at 54. Providence recovered to take a five-point lead, but Roxy Barahman hit a three-pointer in the last minute to cut the deficit to two at the end of the third quarter.

Barahman hit two free throws within the first minute of the fourth quarter to tie the game, then Megan Gorman made a leaning jumper in the key to give Yale its first lead since the 7:34 mark of the first quarter on Nov. 5.

Yale was still up two when Andrew, standing at the top of the three-point line, found Camilla Emsbo to the left of the basket for a layup with 27 seconds left in regulation.  Emsbo then committed her fifth foul of the game, sending Providence’s Alyssa Geary to the line for two free throws.

Geary made both to make it a 81-79 game with 22 seconds on the clock.

Yale attempted to inbound the ball, following a timeout, but Andrew elbowed Providence’s Kaela Webb in the face.  The referees reviewed the play over the next several minutes, ultimately determining that the foul was not intentional and giving the ball to the Friars without any free throws.

Webb drove the lane to attempt a game-tying layup with under 10 seconds left, but Barahman poked the ball into the arms of Alex Cade to end the threat.  Cade was fouled and hit one of two free throws with one second left to end the month-long contest.

Facing the Big East’s strongest defense, the Bulldogs put up 49 points in Tuesday’s second half. The team shot 60 % from two, 63 % (5-for-8) from three and 77% (10-for-13) from the free throw line on the evening. Barahman, who was dealing with an ankle injury and only scored two points on Nov. 5, led the way with 17 points.  Ellen Margaret Andrews added 16 for a game and career high of 23 points.

With the victory, Yale earned the unique distinction of both winning its season opener and extending its win streak to three games.

Providence is now the second high major team to suffer defeat to the Ivy League this season, with California taken down by Harvard on Nov. 8.

Tuesday’s success is great for Yale, as well as the entire league, as the conference raises its national profile.  With Penn (5-1; #14 Mid-major at CollegeInsider.com) facing La Salle (6-2) and Dartmouth (3-1) at Loyola-Chicago (6-0; #34) on Wednesday, Cornell (5-2) hosting Binghamton (7-0; #30) on Thursday, Columbia (4-3; #45) welcoming Georgetown (2-5) and Yale hosting St. John’s (4-3) on Friday, as well as Dartmouth at Northwestern (5-1) and Princeton (6-1; #4) traveling to Marist (5-1; #10) on Saturday, the league will look to continue its strong nonconference performances.