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After Three Strong Quarters, Yale Relinquishes Lead and Falls to Princeton

Tamara Simpson (Photo by Steve Musco)
Tamara Simpson (Photo by Steve Musco)

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PRINCETON, N.J. – Despite a season-high 22 points from Tamara Simpson, Yale (9-6, 0-2 Ivy) fell to Princeton (7-9, 1-2 Ivy) 74-62 in a game that was much more hotly contested than the final score indicated. In fact, the final score marked Princeton's largest lead of the game, while Yale had led by as many as eight points in the second quarter and continued to lead into the fourth.


After Yale faced an early 8-4 deficit, senior Lena Munzer hit consecutive 3-pointers to give the Bulldogs a 10-8 lead, and the first quarter ended with the score tied at 15. Then junior Tamara Simpson stepped up and played her best basketball of the season, scoring 13 points in the second quarter to give Yale a 36-32 halftime lead. Yale outshot Princeton 57.1% to 36.8% in the frame, including 5-for-7 from 3-point range, versus 0-for-3 for Princeton. However, a 12-7 rebounding advantage kept the Tigers within striking distance, and Princeton finished the game outrebounding Yale 40-25.


Simpson continued her confident play in the third quarter, converting a 3-point play early and following that up with an aggressive drive to the rim for 2 points. Yale finished the third quarter leading 56-49.


Princeton opened the fourth quarter with consecutive 3-pointers, and the Tigers kept the momentum going until the final whistle, outscoring the Bulldogs 25-6 in the quarter to close out a 12-point win after trailing for the majority of the game.


Princeton junior Leslie Robinson scored 16 points and posted career highs in rebounds (15) and assists (6) to lead the way for the Tigers. Freshman Bella Alarie also made major contributions with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while junior Tia Weledji scored a team-high 17 points.


After the game, Simpson explained the success she and the Bulldogs had in the middle of the game, saying, "We just really exposed them and forced them to get out of the zone…they had to adjust in the third quarter."


But Simpson said that Princeton had made the necessary adjustments by the time that quarter had ended. "They capitalized on our mistakes and really made a run on us…we just have to be a fourth quarter team. This entire year our priority was being a third quarter team and I think we officially achieved that. But it's just about closing out games – we can't get complacent. We just have to play like we're down at all times, and that's how we win big games like this."


Next up for Yale is a game at Brown on Friday, Jan. 20 at 5:30pm.


Filed by Andy Dougherty, Yale Sports Publicity