-->

Top Two Offenses in Ivy League Meet Friday

The Yale bench. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
The Yale bench. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

YALE-BROWN FRIDAY 12:00 P.M.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Ivy League play starts Friday with an intriguing matchup for the Yale women's basketball team, as the Bulldogs host a red-hot Brown team that has won 10 straight games. The game features the top two offenses in the league, as the Bears are averaging 82.2 points per game and the Bulldogs are at 70.1 -- no other team in the league is averaging more than 66.0. Brown edged Yale for a spot in the Ivy League tournament last year, finishing just one game ahead of the Bulldogs in the standings, so Friday's game figures to have playoff implications.

 

BROADCAST AVAILABLE ON ELEVEN SPORTS IN ADDITION TO IVY LEAGUE NETWORK

In addition to being on the Ivy League Network, Friday's game will be broadcast on ELEVEN SPORTS on a tape delay basis at 3:15 p.m Eastern time. Founded in 2015, ELEVEN SPORTS is a global sports provider dedicated to delivering world-class international and domestic sports and lifestyle entertainment. ELEVEN SPORTS is available in 70 million homes worldwide. To see if it is available in your area, visit http://elevensportsusa.com/where-to-watch/.

All of Yale's remaining regular season games are scheduled to be available on the Ivy League Network (ILN), now available on Apple TV, Roku and the ILN app for Android and Apple devices.

 

FRIDAY PROMOTIONS

Friday's game, which is followed by a Yale men's basketball game vs. Brown at 5:30 p.m., features multiple promotions:

  • Yale Athletics will donate a portion of ticket sales for the men's hockey (7 p.m.), and women's and men's basketball (12 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively) games to the Yale-United Way campaign.
  • Friday is also Yale Athletics' Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day at the women's and men's basketball games. Tickets are $5 for Yale employees, and Dunkin Donuts gift cards will be given out at each game to the first 100 employees to present Yale IDs.

 

BULLDOGS AT FORDHAM HOLIDAY CLASSIC

Yale (7-6, 0-0 Ivy League) is coming off a pair of losses at the Fordham Holiday Classic, having dropped the first game 71-61 to UC Davis and the second game 78-70 to Hartford. Senior guard Tamara Simpson (North Babylon, N.Y.) led the team with 18 points in the first game, while senior forward Jen Berkowitz (Wayland, Mass.) had a team-best 15 rebounds. Berkowitz then scored a team-best 21 points in the second game, while sophomore forward Megan Gorman (Vero Beach, Fla.) led the team with seven rebounds and senior guard Mary Ann Santucci (Seattle, Wash.) had a team-best five assists. Host Fordham won the tournament, beating UC Davis 70-62 for the title. The four teams had combined for a 30-14 (.682) record entering the tournament.

 

IVY MADNESS

The Ivy League men's and women's basketball tournaments return to Philadelphia, where they will take place Saturday and Sunday, March 10-11, 2018. The top four teams will earn berths to the tournament, with the semifinals on Saturday and the championships on Sunday. All six games will be broadcast live on ESPN's networks. For tickets and more information please visit IvyMadness.com.

 

BULLDOGS ON THE OFFENSIVE

Yale is averaging 70.1 points per game, second-best in the Ivy League and a 15 percent improvement over last season's average (61.1 points per game). The last time the Bulldogs averaged 70.0 or more points per game for a full season was 1986-87 (73.5 points per game).

The 82 points the Bulldogs scored in the wins vs. Colgate and TCU represent the most they have scored in Allison Guth's three seasons as Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball.

 

TRACKING THE THREE-POINTERS

Yale hit 10 three-pointers in the 82-56 win vs. Colgate Nov. 13, the most the Bulldogs have hit in a game since hitting 11 on Dec. 1, 2016. That included seven threes in the first quarter alone, led by three from first-year guard Tori Andrew (Wayzata, Minn.).

Last year the Bulldogs averaged 6.8 made threes per game; they are averaging 6.3 per game this year. In the three games that Andrew has played, the Bulldogs averaged 7.7 threes per game. Yale has hit six or more three-pointers in seven straight games.

Seven Bulldogs have attempted at least 20 three-pointers this year, and three of them are shooting 30 percent or better -- Andrew and junior guard Gabby Nelson (Hurst, Texas) are both at 33 percent, and sophomore guard Roxy Barahman (Calabasas, Calif.) is at 30.4 percent. Of the 25 shots Nelson has taken this year, 24 have been three-pointers (96 percent).

 

CAPTAIN SANTUCCI

Senior guard Mary Ann Santucci (Seattle, Wash.) was elected captain for the 2017-18 season by her teammates. Santucci has missed just one game in her career, and has 51 starts -- including 26 starts last season. One of the team's top ballhandlers, she was second on the team in assists last season (2.2 per game) and shot a career-high 35.9 percent from three-point range. She averaged a career-high 4.6 points per game. She is averaging 3.5 points per game this year.

Santucci earned her third start of the season Dec. 2, posting a season-high 12 points in the win at Binghamton. She was 3-for-6 from three-point range.

Santucci is an ecology and evolutionary biology major in Morse College. She graduated from Seattle Prep.

 

RECORD-BREAKING YEAR FOR SIMPSON

Senior guard Tamara Simpson (North Babylon, N.Y.) became the 20th player in Yale history to reach the 1,000 career point mark with a layup in the first quarter against Indiana at Lee Amphitheater on Dec. 21. She went on to score a career-high 31 points that day.

Those were the latest milestones in Simpson's career, as she enjoys her best season to date. She leads the team in scoring, averaging 16.8 points per game (fifth in the Ivy League) -- a 75 percent improvement over last season (9.6 points per game). She also leads the Ivy League in steals (4.8 per game, 2.3 more than any other player) and is 11th in assists (3.1 per game). As of Jan. 9 she was third nationally in steals per game.

Simpson scored 21 points in the season-opening 62-51 win vs. LIU Brooklyn, shooting 6-for-12 from the field, then matched that total Dec. 12 in the 70-49 win at Saint Peter's. She tied her career high with nine steals against Providence Nov. 29, matching that total in the win at Stony Brook Dec. 6.

Simpson now has 1,053 career points. Prior to her the last Bulldog to reach the 1,000-point milestone was Janna Graf '14, who finished her career in 2014 with 1,151 points. Graf scored her 1,000th point on Dec. 29, 2013. Yale's all-time leading scorer is Mary Kalich '95 (1,663 points).

Simpson is the reigning Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year. She already holds the Yale career record for steals (290 entering Friday's game). As of Jan. 9 she was second among active NCAA players in career steals. She led the league in steals last season with 79 and contributed offensively as well -- she was third on the team in points per game.

Simpson is a psychology major in Jonathan Edwards College. She graduated from Portledge School.

 

BERKOWITZ AMONG IVY LEAGUE LEADERS

At six-foot-two, senior forward Jen Berkowitz (Wayland, Mass.) is a formidable presence in the post for the Bulldogs. She is second on the team in scoring (14.9 points per game, eighth in the Ivy League) and leads the team in rebounding (8.5 rebounds per game, tied for third in the Ivy League). She also has the league's best field goal percentage (.564). She is on pace for career highs in all three categories.

Berkowitz tied her career high with 26 points in the win at Stony Brook, one of three times this season she has scored 20 or more points in a game. She had a career-high 16 rebounds at Kansas, and has reached double-digits in rebounds four times this year.

Berkowitz has 809 career points, putting her 191 away from joining the 1,000-point club. She would need to average 13.6 points per game for the remaining 14 games to reach that milestone.

Berkowitz earned honorable mention All-Ivy League recognition last season. She led the team and finished sixth in the league with 13.4 points per game. She led the league in field goal percentage (.508) and was ninth in rebounding (6.9 per game).

Berkowitz is a history of science, medicine and public health major in Saybrook College. She graduated from The Rivers School.

 

BARAHMAN MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME

Sophomore guard Roxy Barahman (Calabasas, Calif.) has been making up for lost time this season. Barahman was limited to 17 games (one start) last season, but is one of three Bulldogs averaging 30.0 minutes or more per game this season and has made 11 starts. She leads the team in assists (3.2 per game, 10th in the Ivy League), is second in steals (2.2 per game, sixth in the Ivy League) and is third in rebounds (4.7 per game).

Barahman set a career high with six assists in the win at TCU Nov. 21, and set a career high with 11 rebounds in the win vs. Colgate Nov. 13. She scored a career-high 24 points at Binghamton Dec. 2.

Barahman is in Davenport College and is a graduate of Oaks Christian.

 

GORMAN ON THE BOARDS

Sophomore forward Megan Gorman (Vero Beach, Fla.) remains one of Yale's most consistent rebounding presences. She is second on the team in rebounding this year (4.9 per game) after finishing third last year (5.1 per game). She has had at least four rebounds in nine of 13 games this season, and had a season-high eight rebounds in the win at Binghamton. Her career high in rebounds is 15, set Jan. 27, 2017, against Brown.

Gorman is in Trumbull College and is a graduate of Vero Beach High School.

 

ANDREWS SOLIDIFIES STARTING SPOT

First-year forward Ellen Margaret Andrews (Dallas, Texas) earned her first career start when the Bulldogs played at TCU, near her hometown of Dallas, on Nov. 21. She wound up with a season-high nine rebounds in that game. She has now started 10 straight games.

Andrews scored a season-high 16 points against Hartford Dec. 29, shooting 6-for-9 (.667). She has scored double-digit points in four of the last five games, and has shot 50 percent or better from the field in six of the last eight games. Her .750 free-throw percentage is best on the team among those with 20 or more attempts.

Andrews is in Berkeley College and is a graduate of Greenhill School.

 

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE

Yale has developed quite a home court advantage in recent years. Since the start of the 2014-15 season the Bulldogs have gone 27-16 (.628) at John J. Lee Amphitheater. Here is a look at the team's home record in the past five+ seasons:

2012-13: 6-7 (.462)
2013-14: 7-6 (.538)
2014-15: 8-4 (.667)
2015-16: 10-5 (.667)
2016-17: 7-4 (.636)
2017-18: 2-3 (.400)

 

CLASS OF 2021

Yale welcomes four first years to the roster for the 2017-18 season. All four were captains of their high school teams and bring impressive credentials to New Haven.

The newcomers include a pair of record-setting guards in Ale Aguirre (La Jolla, Calif.) and Tori Andrew (Wayzata, Minn.). Aguirre should be able to stretch opposing defenses: she finished seventh in the nation, second in California and first in San Diego for three-pointers made in a career. She set the national record for three-pointers in a game with 15, earning a mention on ESPN. Andrew is also a threat from deep. A three-time first team all-state selection, she set school career records for scoring, double-doubles and three-pointers made. Her high basketball IQ should enable her to contribute immediately.

The class also includes a pair of forwards. Ellen Margaret Andrews (Dallas, Texas) was the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Large Private Player of the Year as a senior. Her athleticism enabled her to be all-conference in three sports (basketball, track and volleyball), and she was the first player in her school's history to score 1,000 points in a season. Alex Cade (Shaker Heights, Ohio) was a two-time all-state selection and averaged a double-double her senior year (16.7 points, 13.8 rebounds) while adding 4.2 blocks per game.

 

A SEASON TO BUILD ON

The 2016-17 season was one to build on for the Yale women's basketball team. The Bulldogs were on a roll at the end, winning four of their last five games to finish with the team's best win total (15) since 2011-12. Four of the six players who averaged 20 or more minutes per game for Yale in 2016-17 return for 2017-18.

 

ALLISON GUTH, YALE'S JOEL E. SMILOW, CLASS OF 1954 HEAD COACH OF WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Known as a skilled recruiter throughout her 10-plus years of coaching, Allison Guth was named Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball in May of 2015, returning to the Bulldogs after serving as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator from 2010 to 2012. Guth is the 10th head coach in the history of the women's basketball program, which dates to the 1973-74 season.

The team has made steady progress under Guth, whose staff includes assistants Melissa D'Amico, Roman Owen and Jacinda Dunbar -- all also in their third season with Yale. The Bulldogs have improved their win total from season to season in each of the past two years. Last season they finished with their best win total (15) since 2011-12.

Prior to being named Yale's head coach, Guth spent three seasons at Northwestern as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, helping turn the women's basketball team into a national power. In her final season, the Wildcats went 23-9 (12-6 Big Ten) and qualified for an NCAA Tournament berth for the first time since 1997.

During her first stint in New Haven, Guth was instrumental in Yale's resurgence as a contender for the Ivy League championship and helped guide the Bulldogs to their best two-year record in 18 years and the most Ivy League wins in a two-year span (18; 10-4 in 2010-11, 8-6 in 2011-12) in the program's history. Guth previously served as an assistant coach at DePaul, Missouri and Loyola-Chicago.

Guth, who led Buffalo Grove (Illinois) High School to the 2000 Class AA State title, and her high school teammates were inducted into the Illinois Coaches Basketball Association Hall of Fame in April of 2013.

A three-time letter winner at Illinois, Guth helped the Illini reach the 2003 NCAA Tournament after earning a spot as a walk-on and then earning a scholarship. An Academic All-Big Ten selection, Guth also played a season with the Illinois women's golf team before graduating in 2004. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business before getting her Master's degree in educational leadership from DePaul in 2010.

 

SCOUTING BROWN

Brown (12-1, 0-0 Ivy League) brings a 10-game winning streak into Friday, and the Bears have been doing it with one of the most prolific offenses in the country. They are ranked No. 19 nationally in scoring offense (82.2 points per game), and they lead the Ivy League in that category along with assists per game (17.2), field-goal percentage (42.9), scoring margin (12.7) and three-point field goals made per game (9.5). They also pace the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.24), blocked shots per game (6.1), field-goal percentage defense (37.4) and rebounds per game (44.69).

The Bears have done all that by utilizing one of the deepest offenses in the league -- they have three of the Ivy's top four scorers: guards Shayne Mehta (second, 19.7 points per game), Justine Gaziano (third, 18.3) and Taylor Will (fourth, 17.0). Mehta leads the league with 3.5 three-point field goals made per game, and is shooting a robust .389 from behind the arc. Gaziano is the player teams don't want to foul -- she has an Ivy-best .875 free throw percentage. Forward Janie White anchors the defense and is fifth in the nation in blocked shots per game (3.31).

This is Brown's fourth season under head coach Sarah Behn. Last year Behn led the Bears to an Ivy League Tournament appearance and a win in the postseason -- at the Women's Basketball Invitational. Last year's team set the school record for points (2,169).

Yale and Brown split last season's series, with the Bears winning 76-73 in Providence, R.I., and the Bulldogs winning 73-51 at Lee Amphitheater.

 

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity

 

FOLLOW YALE