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Bulldogs Power Past Princeton in OT for Historic 96-86 Win

Yale celebrates the win. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Yale celebrates the win. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Moments after the final buzzer sounded at Jadwin Gym Friday night and sealed a historic 96-86 overtime win for the Yale women's basketball team, the Bulldogs' two seniors -- forward Alexandra Maund and guard Gabby Nelson -- embraced near midcourt. It was one memorable moment on a night full of them as the Yale program earned another signature win, the Bulldogs' first at Jadwin in 10 years. The 96 points they scored Friday broke the school record.

Maund and Nelson have come to epitomize the qualities that Allison Guth, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball, looks for in a Bulldog. And those qualities were on full display Friday night. In a game where the Bulldogs controlled the boards (holding a 45-31 rebounding edge), the tenacious Maund led the way with 11. And while Nelson continued to provide the off-court leadership as captain that she has all season, she also took full advantage of her minutes on the court. She drained a long-distance three pointer in the fourth quarter on her only shot of the night, giving Yale a 65-59 lead with 8:56 left.

"I talk about this with Gabby a lot in terms of her servant leadership and doing whatever is asked of her," said Guth. "That [three-pointer] isn't by accident. That kid is in every day getting up extra shots at the end, the last one to leave the gym and, this week, coming in for individual work. She deserves that. You talk about Maund stepping up so big time. Those guys know what they're playing for … for them to get their first road win at Princeton -- they are the ones who help set the tone for us in their leadership."

And besides the seniors there were plenty of other heroes in this game for Yale (14-6, 4-1 Ivy). Start with junior guard Roxy Barahman, whose career-high 33 point night was just part of the story.

"She did what we needed her to do, which was facilitate our offense so we could get some inside scoring," said Guth of Barahman, who tied with sophomore guard Tori Andrew for a team-high four assists.

Andrew herself provided heroics of a different kind, stepping to the free throw line eight times in the final 5:18 of the game -- and calmly hitting seven of those shots. That was a big reason why the Bulldogs shot 76 percent from the charity stripe, their second-best performance in the last 10 games.

"We have emphasized that teams who win games and are champions, they make their free throws," said Guth.

Barahman, Maund (a career-high 18 points), Andrew (15 points) and sophomore forward Alex Cade (12 points) gave Yale four players in double digits. In addition to Maund's 11 boards, junior forward Megan Gorman had eight rebounds, while Barahman chipped in seven -- and so did first-year forward Camilla Emsbo, playing her first game against her identical twin Kira.

Princeton (10-9, 2-2 Ivy) was led by 38 points from Bella Alarie, including the 1,000th point of her career. The Tigers made a late comeback in regulation to force overtime, overcoming a 74-67 deficit with 3:11 to play to forge a tie. But they never took the lead.

"When Princeton made their run, it was because we didn't value the possession," said Guth. "We turned it over, and that turned into buckets for them. I was really impressed with the poise coming into the timeout [before overtime]. We had leaders like Roxy and Gorman saying 'This is our game. We're fine.'"  

Yale outrebounded the Tigers 9-1 in overtime, scoring the first seven points of the extra session to take control. After Princeton got within five with 1:23 to play, Barahman hit a jumper to get the lead back to seven. The Bulldogs then hit six free throws down the stretch to put the game away, their ninth win in 10 games. It was Yale's first win at Jadwin since a 56-54 triumph Feb. 13, 2009. The Bulldogs also broke the school record for points in a game, which had been 94 (11/22/91 vs. Hofstra and 3/2/29 vs. Marist).

With the victory and Harvard's loss at Columbia Friday night, the Bulldogs are now in sole possession of second place in the league. They visit first-place Penn Saturday.

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