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Seniors in the Spotlight as Yale Hosts Cornell, Columbia

The Yale Women's Basketball Class of 2018: Mary Ann Santucci, Jen Berkowitz and Tamara Simpson. (photo by Steve Musco, muscosportsphotos.com)
The Yale Women's Basketball Class of 2018: Mary Ann Santucci, Jen Berkowitz and Tamara Simpson. (photo by Steve Musco, muscosportsphotos.com)

YALE-CORNELL FRIDAY 6:00 P.M.

YALE-COLUMBIA SATURDAY 5:00 P.M.

 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The final weekend of regular season games at Lee Amphitheater promises to be an emotional one for the Yale women's basketball team, as the Bulldogs remain in the thick of the hunt for a spot in the Ivy League Tournament. After hosting Cornell on Friday (6:00 p.m., Ivy League Network), the Bulldogs will play Columbia on Saturday (5:00 p.m., Ivy League Network) and host the annual Senior Day ceremony. They will honor the team's three seniors -- forward Jen Berkowitz (Wayland, Mass.), guard Mary Ann Santucci (Seattle, Wash.) and guard Tamara Simpson (North Babylon, N.Y.). This is also Alumnae Weekend, with many former players returning to New Haven and taking part in the Alumnae Game earlier in the day Saturday.

 

WIN OVER HARVARD CAPS WEEKEND

For the second time in as many years this past Saturday, Yale beat archrival Harvard at Lee Amphitheater. The 69-63 win in front of a boisterous crowd of 1,006 had all sorts of playoff implications -- it pulled the Bulldogs into a tie for third in the Ivy League standings with the Crimson and Dartmouth. Yale has the tiebreaker edge on both schools, putting the Bulldogs in position to earn the No. 3 seed.

Sophomore guard Roxy Barahman (Calabasas, Calif.) led Yale with 20 points and eight assists against the Crimson, while sophomore forward Megan Gorman (Vero Beach, Fla.) led with 10 rebounds. Four Bulldogs scored in double digits, with first-year guard Tori Andrew (Wayzata, Minn.) coming off the bench to score 14 by hitting on four of six three-point attempts.

The win came after a frustrating 64-62 overtime loss to Dartmouth Friday, as the Bulldogs let an 18-point third-quarter lead slip away. Senior guard Tamara Simpson (North Babylon, N.Y.) led Yale in scoring with 16 points, while senior forward Jen Berkowitz (Wayland, Mass.) had 15 rebounds.

Half of Yale's four Ivy League losses have come in overtime.

 

IVY LEAGUE TOURNAMENT PICTURE

With four regular season games left, Princeton (9-1) has a one-game lead on Penn (8-2) for the Ivy League Championship and the No. 1 seed at the Ivy League Tournament Mar. 10-11 in Philadelphia.

Dartmouth, Harvard and Yale are all three games back at 6-4. Brown and Cornell are tied for sixth at 2-8, and Columbia is eighth at 1-9.

If the season ended today, Yale would be the No. 3 seed in the tournament. The three-way tie among Dartmouth, Harvard and Yale would not be settled by the first tiebreaker -- the teams are all 1-1 against each other in head-to-head competition. Yale would get the nod for the No. 3 spot because the Bulldogs have beaten Princeton, the top team in the standings. Harvard would have the edge over Dartmouth for the fourth spot based on its indices rankings (NCAA RPI and Sagarin/RPIRatings.com) -- Harvard's average is 107 and Dartmouth's is 120.

 

SENIOR NIGHT SATURDAY

Yale will pay tribute to its three seniors -- forward Jen Berkowitz (Wayland, Mass.), guard Mary Ann Santucci (Seattle, Wash.) and guard Tamara Simpson (North Babylon, N.Y.) as part of Senior Night Saturday. The trio has led the program to several notable accomplishments. Last year's team won 15 games, the most for the Bulldogs since 2011-12. This year the Bulldogs beat a top-25 team in TCU and beat Princeton for the first time since 2009. The Bulldogs have also beaten rival Harvard twice in the last three games.

The seniors have also shined off the court, as all three are planning to go into the medical field.

 

BULLDOGS TAKE "PLAY4KAY" FREE THROW CHALLENGE

Yale is taking part in the "Play4Kay Free Throw Challenge" throughout the month of February, raising money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Bulldogs fans can support the team's efforts by pledging for every free throw the team makes this month.

Make your pledge to support Yale's "Play4Kay" fundraiser today at https://pledgeit.org/yaleplay4kay.

After six games this month, the Bulldogs have made 66 free throws and raised an estimated $140. They have two games left to reach their goal of $1,000 raised. Louisville is the current leader in the Play4Kay Free Throw Challenge with an estimated $4,435 raised so far.

The Kay Yow Cancer Fund's mission is to extend and improve the lives of those who are battling cancer, on our way to finding a cure, by raising money for research and assisting the underserved.

 

BRUMMEL RECOGNIZED AS LEGEND OF IVY BASKETBALL

Lisa Brummel '81, who will be formally honored as part of the 2018 Class of Legends of Ivy League Basketball at the Ivy League men's and women's basketball tournaments on Saturday, Mar. 10, was recently featured on IvyLeague.com. Brummel is currently business partners with another Yale Athletics alum -- rower Ginny Gilder '79. They are part of the group that owns the WNBA's Seattle Storm.

A four-sport athlete at Yale, Brummel was a four-time MVP for the women's basketball team and earned a pair of first team All-Ivy League honors.

 

BROADCASTS AVAILABLE ON IVY LEAGUE NETWORK

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

 

IVY MADNESS

The Ivy League men's and women's basketball tournaments return to Philadelphia, where they will take place Saturday and Sunday, Mar. 10-11. 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 68.9 points per game, a 13 percent improvement over last season's average (61.1 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.

 

TURNOVER ADVANTAGE

Yale leads the Ivy League in turnover margin at 5.09, with Penn (4.26) the only other league team above 0.96. The Bulldogs' opponents are averaging 20.4 turnovers per game, the most in the league and 25th nationally, and Yale is averaging a league-best 10.7 steals per game (25th nationally).

 

TRACKING THE THREE-POINTERS

Yale hit 11 three-pointers in the 73-59 win vs. Princeton Feb. 2, the most the Bulldogs have hit in a game since hitting 11 on Dec. 1, 2016. First-year guard Tori Andrew (Wayzata, Minn.) hit four threes.

Last year the Bulldogs averaged 6.8 made threes per game; they are averaging 6.7 per game this year. In the 13 games that Andrew has played, the Bulldogs have totaled 95 threes (7.3 per game). Yale has hit six or more three-pointers in 15 of the last 17 games.

Seven Bulldogs have attempted at least 25 three-pointers this year, and three of them are shooting 30 percent or better -- Andrew is at 40.0 percent, sophomore guard Roxy Barahman (Calabasas, Calif.) is at 32.7 and junior guard Gabby Nelson (Hurst, Texas) is at 32.0. Of the 26 shots Nelson has taken this year, 25 have been three-pointers (96 percent). Andrew has taken 70 of her 89 shots (79 percent) from three-point territory.

 

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 and is one of six players averaging 22 or more minutes per game.

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 a pre-med ecology and evolutionary biology major in Morse College. She graduated from Seattle Prep. She has volunteered for Catholic Community Services helping elderly/disabled people who cannot leave their homes.

 

BERKOWITZ AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS

Senior forward Jen Berkowitz (Wayland, Mass.) is enjoying the best season of her career. She leads the team in scoring (15.2 points per game, fourth in the Ivy League) and rebounding (7.7 rebounds per game, tied for sixth in the Ivy League). She also has the league's best field goal percentage (.570). She is on pace for career highs in all three categories.

Berkowitz has scored in double digits in six straight games. She tied her career high with 26 points in the win at Stony Brook Dec. 6, one of five 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 six times this year. She has six double-doubles.

Berkowitz has 965 career points, putting her 35 away from joining the 1,000-point club. She would need to average 8.8 points per game for the remaining four regular season 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 pre-med history of science, medicine and public health major in Saybrook College. She graduated from The Rivers School. She was recently profiled in the MetroWest Daily News.

 

 

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 is second on the team in scoring, averaging 15.0 points per game (sixth in the Ivy League) -- a 56 percent improvement over last season (9.6 points per game). She also leads the Ivy League in steals (4.6 per game, 2.3 more than any other player) and is 14th in assists (2.5 per game). Her 102 steals this season broke her own school record (90, set sophomore year).

As of Feb. 21 Simpson was third nationally in steals per game. She is on pace to finish the regular season with 120 steals, within striking distance of the Ivy League record (125, Betsy Gilmore, Dartmouth, 1993-94).

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 1,181 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. Her 334 career steals place her second on the Ivy League's all-time list, with Gilmore the leader at 370. As of Feb. 21 she was second among active NCAA players in career steals, trailing only Lamar's Chastadie Barrs. Her career average (3.12) places her fourth.

Simpson 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 pre-med psychology major in Jonathan Edwards College. She graduated from Portledge 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 32.0 minutes or more per game this season and has made 21 starts. She leads the team in assists (4.1 per game, fourth in the Ivy League), is second in steals (2.0 per game, fourth in the Ivy League) and is third in rebounds (4.4 per game).

Barahman reached a career high in assists with nine in the 73-50 win at Columbia Feb. 9. She 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 (6.4 per game) after finishing third last year (5.1 per game). She has 91 rebounds in the last 11 games (8.3 per game), including a career-high 16 in the 57-39 win at Dartmouth Jan. 27.

Gorman is in Trumbull College and is a graduate of Vero Beach High School. She is an economics major.

 

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 18 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 nine of the last 14 games. She is 35-for-44 (.795) from the free throw line, best among Bulldogs with 13 or more attempts.  

Andrews is in Berkeley College and is a graduate of Greenhill School. She writes for the Yale Daily News, covering sports such as track & field and volleyball. Her sister Camille plays soccer at Bucknell, where she is a junior. Her father, Jaye, is a 1985 Bucknell grad who is in the Bucknell Hall of Fame after scoring 1,535 points for the Bison basketball team.

 

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 30-18 (.625) 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: 5-5 (.500)

 

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 CORNELL

Cornell (6-17, 2-8 Ivy League) has lost six of its last seven games, including a 65-55 loss to Yale at Newman Arena on Feb. 10. Senior forward Jen Berkowitz (Wayland, Mass.) led Yale with 18 points in that game, adding eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Roxy Barahman (Calabasas, Calif.) had seven assists. Guard Samantha Widmann led Cornell with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

Danielle Jorgenson, a starting guard for the Big Red, was a high school teammate of Yale first-year guard Tori Andrew (Wayzata, Minn.) at Orono High School. Jorgenson set the school record for steals, while Andrew set the records for scoring, double-doubles and three-pointers.

 

SCOUTING COLUMBIA

Columbia (7-18, 1-9 Ivy League), which plays at Brown Friday night, enters the weekend on a six-game losing streak. That included a 73-50 loss to Yale at Levien Gym on Feb. 9, when the Bulldogs got 21 points and five rebounds from senior forward Jen Berkowitz (Wayland, Mass.). Sophomore guard Roxy Barahman (Calabasas, Calif.) had a career-high nine assists. Columbia forward Camille Zimmerman, the Ivy League's leading scorer (averaging 19.5 points per game), was limited to 10 points on 4-for-16 shooting that night.

Zimmerman also leads the Ivy League in rebounding (9.7 per game) and free throw percentage (.881). She is seventh in assists (3.3 per game).

 

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

 

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