PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Despite missing two of its starters to injury, the Yale University women's basketball team gave Providence all it could handle. In the end, the Friars' interior defense was just enough to prevent the Bulldogs from pulling off their second victory of the season.
Sophomore Symone Roberts scored 11 of her game-high 18 points and tallied six rebounds and four steals to push Providence to a 74-62 victory over Yale at Alumni Hall Wednesday night.
Yale was without starting guards Yoyo Greenfield and Megan Vasquez. The pair collided in practice earlier in the week and suffered mild concussions that prevented them from dressing against Providence.
Providence (4-4) jumped out to an early 24-14 lead with 8:11 left in the first half, but Yale (1-6) was determined not to let the game get away early on. Over the next 5:46, the Bulldogs used a 19-8 run to cut the deficit to 33-32 with 2:25 left in the first half. However, Providence closed the half with a 7-2 run to go into the halftime break leading 40-34.
The run picked up pace right out of the gates in the second half. Providence used a 19-4 run to open the second half and extend its lead to 59-38 with 12:14 remaining. Once again, the Bulldogs responded with another run, this time using a 15-2 run to cut the deficit to 61-53 with 8:25 left. But, that was as close as the Bulldogs would get.
"We can't keep giving ourselves those mountains to climb because we drop our intensity and we drop our focus for stretches in the game," said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "Our No. 1 priority right now is to put together a consistently competitive effort every single time. We didn't have the edge tonight with our starting backcourt out tonight. When you don't have the edge, you have to play every possession because you're going to need every possession. That is what we have to learn."
Providence (4-4) outrebounded Yale (1-6) 52-36 and collected 12 blocked shots, but the difference in the game came inside the paint in the second half, where the Friars outscored the Bulldogs 24-4 to pull ahead for good. Miranda Tate added 18 points, while Mi-Khida Hankins and Teya Wright each pulled down a game-high nine rebounds. Hankins also had five blocks. Freshman forward Lauren Okafor chipped in with eight points and four blocks.
Junior forward Michelle Cashen and sophomore guard Allie Messimer each scored 12 points to pace the Bulldogs. In the first start of her career, sophomore guard Aarica West, starting in place of Vasquez at point guard, finished with a game-high seven assists to go along with four points, five rebounds, and three steals.
"We had people playing a lot of minutes tonight and I think that showed in the fatigue that we showed at the end," Gobrecht said. "I thought it cost us some of those possessions in the second half. We were just a little more tired than we usually are."
Yale returns home for just the second time this season and will play host to Fairleigh Dickinson on Monday at 5 p.m. in the first game of a men's and women's basketball doubleheader. Yale's men's basketball team entertains Albany at 7 p.m.
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity