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Yale Visits Binghamton in WBI Quarterfinals Tuesday Night

The Yale women's basketball huddle. (photo by  Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
The Yale women's basketball huddle. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

YALE-BINGHAMTON TUESDAY 7:00 P.M.

 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's basketball team will look to keep its historic season going Tuesday night, facing Binghamton in the quarterfinals of the Women's Basketball Invitational (7:00 p.m., ESPN3, WNBF). The winner of Tuesday's game will advance to the semifinals and play the winner of the Furman-South Alabama matchup. Yale needs one more win to match the school record for victories in a season. The Bulldogs advanced to Tuesday's game by winning at Northeastern in the first round last Thursday, the school's first win in a national postseason tournament.

 

YALE'S NATIONAL POSTSEASON TOURNAMENT HISTORY

This is Yale's first appearance in the WBI, and the Bulldogs' first appearance in any national postseason tournament since making the WNIT in 2011. The Bulldogs qualified for the WNIT that year by finishing tied for second place in the Ivy League with a 10-4 league record, winning a tiebreaker against Harvard (by going 2-0 against the Crimson) for the league's automatic berth in the WNIT. The Bulldogs hosted Boston College at Lee Amphitheater on Mar. 17, 2011, falling to the Eagles 85-61.

Yale's other postseason appearances in school history included four games in the AIAW Eastern Regionals after the 1977-78 season. The Bulldogs went 3-1 in that tournament to finish third, beating Iona, Ithaca and Springfield but falling to Mercy. Yale played in that same Regional the following year, losing to Canisius and beating Marist.

Additionally, Yale played in the Ivy League tournament after the season in 1979-80, 1980-81 and 1981-82. That tournament was held during the season in prior years.

 

ABOUT THE WBI

The WBI is in its ninth season and features a 16 team, single-elimination bracket. Teams are picked based on RPI, record, conference standings, end of year performance and quality wins and losses.

All WBI games are played on campus sites. In addition to Yale-Binghamton Tuesday night, the other quarterfinal matchups (all Monday night) are Nevada at Fresno State, Weber State at Central Arkansas and Furman at South Alabama.

The remaining schedule is:

  • Fri. & Sat., Mar. 23 & 24– Semifinals
  • Wed. or Thurs., Mar. 28 or 29 – Championship

Yale is the third Ivy League team to play in the WBI. Penn earned a berth in the tournament in 2013 and went on to win the Ivy League title in 2014. Brown appeared in last year's tournament, winning at UMBC in the first round before falling to UNCG in the quarterfinals.

 

YALE AMONG BEST IN WBI FIELD

Based on RPI at the start of the tournament, Yale is one of the top teams in the WBI field. Here is how all 16 teams rank (* indicates team has advanced to quarterfinals):

123 Central Arkansas*
126 Yale*
139 Youngstown State
144 Fresno State*
145 Northeastern
150 Weber State*
161 Binghamton*
164 SIUE
170 Nevada*
179 South Alabama*
191 Furman*
198 UC Irvine
200 UNC Asheville
204 Stetson
205 CSU Bakersfield
225 Texas Southern

 

IVY LEAGUE TEAMS MAKE POSTSEASON IMPACT

This is the second season in a row that four Ivy League teams earned spots in national post-season tournaments -- a first for the league. In addition to Yale playing in the WBI, Princeton earned the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament and was a No. 12 seed, falling to No. 5 seed Maryland Friday. Harvard and Penn both earned WNIT berths. On Friday the Quakers beat Albany in the first round; they play at St. John's Monday. The Crimson lost to Fordham in the first round Friday.

Last year Penn earned the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament, while the league also had two teams (Harvard and Princeton) selected for the WNIT and one (Brown) selected for the WBI.

 

BULLDOGS BEAT NORTHEASTERN FOR HISTORIC POSTSEASON WIN

Yale earned a spot in the WBI quarterfinals by winning 68-58 at Northeastern last Thursday -- the Bulldogs' first win in a national postseason tournament. Senior forward Jen Berkowitz led the way with 23 points, while sophomore guard Roxy Barahman added 12 and first-year guard Tori Andrew had 11. Berkowitz and sophomore forward Megan Gorman had six rebounds each, while junior forward Alexandra Maund added five.

The game was tied 12-12 after the first quarter, but the Bulldogs outscored the Huskies 23-13 in the second quarter to take control. Seventeen of Yale's 23 field goals were assisted, and eight different players had at least one point.

 

IVY TOURNAMENT RECAP

In the Ivy League Tournament semifinals Mar. 10, Yale fell to top-seeded Princeton 78-57 at The Palestra in Philadelphia. The Bulldogs fell behind by 20 in the third quarter before rallying to get within nine, but the Tigers closed out the third with a pair of three-pointers and then outscored Yale 20-14 in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore guard Roxy Barahman (Calabasas, Calif.) led Yale with 17 points and seven assists, shooting 6-for-13 (.461). Senior guard Tamara Simpson (North Babylon, N.Y.) added five steals, and first-year forward Alex Cade (Shaker Heights, Ohio) contributed 11 points and five rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench.

Princeton went on to beat Penn for the Ivy League Tournament title Mar. 11, earning the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

 

BRUMMEL RECOGNIZED AS LEGEND OF IVY BASKETBALL

Lisa Brummel '81, who was honored as part of the 2018 Class of Legends of Ivy League Basketball at the Ivy League men's and women's basketball tournaments at The Palestra, 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.

Brummel was recognized on the court during the third quarter of the Yale-Princeton semifinal game Saturday Mar. 10.

 

ONE OF YALE'S BEST

With 16 wins, Yale has exceeded last season's total -- which had been the team's best win total since winning 16 games in 2011-12. This is the first time in school history Yale has won 15 or more games in back-to-back seasons. The Bulldogs' first varsity season was 1973-74.

The Bulldogs are within one of the school record for wins in a season. Here are Yale's top eight seasons in terms of overall wins:

17 wins: 1979-80
16 wins: 1993-94, 2011-12, 2017-18
15 wins: 1976-77, 1988-89, 1992-93, 2016-17

Yale's eight Ivy League wins this season are the most since 2012-13, when the Bulldogs went 8-6 in the league. The team record for league wins is 10. Here are Yale's seasons with eight or more Ivy wins:

10 Ivy wins: 1988-89, 2010-11
9 Ivy wins: 1986-87
8 Ivy wins: 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1997-98, 2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2017-18

 

SENIOR CLASS

Yale paid 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 Feb. 24 vs. Columbia, the night the Bulldogs clinched a berth in the Ivy League Tournament. In addition to that tournament berth, the trio has led the program to several notable accomplishments. The team has won 15 games each of the past two seasons, 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.

Berkowitz and Simpson have both scored 1,000 career points, making them part of a select group of Yale classmates who are both in that club. The classmate pairs are:

  • Class of 2018: Tamara Simpson (1,240 points) and Jen Berkowitz (1,033 points)
  • Class of 1999: Katy Grubbs (1,336 points) and Autumn Braddock (1,108 points)
  • Class of 1995: Mary Kalich (1,663 points) and Bari Porter (1,081 points)
  • Class of 1986: Sue Johnson (1,560 points) and Kelly LeComte (1,181 points)
  • Class of 1981: Lisa Brummel (1,361 points) and Sue Melone (1,038 points)

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

 

BULLDOGS ON THE OFFENSIVE

Yale is averaging 67.2 points per game, a 10 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.

 

YALE GETS DEFENSIVE

Yale's loss at Harvard Jan. 26 may have been a turning point. The Bulldogs allowed 97 points in that game, the most they had allowed in a game since giving up 102 at Stanford Dec. 28, 2016. In the 13 games since that game, the Bulldogs have allowed just 59.8 points per game and are holding their opponents to a .376 shooting percentage. In the first 16 games, including that game at Harvard, Yale's opponents averaged 69.4 points per game and shot .440.

 

TURNOVER ADVANTAGE

Yale leads the Ivy League in turnover margin at 4.38, with Penn (3.73) the only other league team above 0.60. The Bulldogs are forcing 19.4 turnovers per game, the most in the league and 37th nationally, and Yale is averaging a league-best 10.31 steals per game (32nd 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.

Seven Bulldogs have attempted at least 25 three-pointers this year, and three of them are shooting 30 percent or better -- Andrew is at 35.4 percent, junior guard Gabby Nelson (Hurst, Texas) is at 32.0 and sophomore guard Roxy Barahman (Calabasas, Calif.) is at 31.5. Of the 26 shots Nelson has taken this year, 25 have been three-pointers (96 percent). Andrew has taken 96 of her 122 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 52 starts -- including 26 starts last season. One of the team's top ballhandlers and perimeter defenders, 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 3.6 points per game this year and is one of five players averaging 22 or more minutes per game.

Santucci posted a season-high 12 points in the win at Binghamton Dec. 2. 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 SCORES 1,000th POINT; EARNS FIRST TEAM ALL-IVY HONORS

Senior forward Jen Berkowitz (Wayland, Mass.) was named first team All-Ivy League, becoming the first Yale player to earn first-team honors since Sarah Halejian '15 in 2014. That was the latest in a series of achievements for her. On Mar. 3 at Princeton, she added her name to the Yale record book when her layup at 5:15 of the first quarter gave her 1,000 points for her career. She is the 21st Yale player to accomplish that feat.

Berkowitz is enjoying the best season of her career. She leads the team in scoring (14.4 points per game, fifth in the Ivy League) and rebounding (7.1 rebounds per game, ninth in the Ivy League). She also has the league's best field goal percentage (.556). She is on pace for career highs in all three categories.

Berkowitz was named Ivy League Co-Player of the Week Feb. 12 after leading Yale to a road sweep at Columbia and Cornell, the Bulldogs' first Ivy road sweep in five years. She led the team in scoring each night, with 21 points at Columbia and 18 at Cornell.

Berkowitz has scored in double digits in nine of the last 12 games. She tied her career high with 26 points in the win at Stony Brook Dec. 6, one of six 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 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.

 

SIMPSON REPEATS AS IVY DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Senior guard Tamara Simpson (North Babylon, N.Y.) was named Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season. She also was named second team All-Ivy League, the first All-Ivy honor of her career.

This has been a historic year for Simpson at both ends of the court. She 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.

Simpson is second on the team in scoring, averaging 13.9 points per game (seventh in the Ivy League) -- a 45 percent improvement over last season (9.6 points per game). She also leads the Ivy League in steals (4.3 per game, 2.1 more than any other player) and is 14th in assists (2.5 per game). Her 121 steals this season broke her own school record (90, set her sophomore year). She has led the league in steals each year of her career.

As of Mar. 18 Simpson was third nationally in steals per game. She is 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. She had at least four steals in eight straight games Feb. 2 through Feb. 24.

Simpson now has 1,240 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 already holds the Yale career record for steals. Her 353 career steals place her second on the Ivy League's all-time list, with Gilmore the leader at 370. As of Mar. 18 she was second among active NCAA players in career steals, trailing only Lamar's Chastadie Barrs (456). 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 HONORABLE MENTION ALL-IVY

Sophomore guard Roxy Barahman (Calabasas, Calif.) earned honorable mention All-Ivy League honors after emerging as an impact player. She has been making up for lost time this season after being limited to 17 games (one start) last season. She is one of three Bulldogs averaging 30.0 minutes or more per game this season and has made 27 starts. She leads the team in assists (4.0 per game, fourth in the Ivy League), is second in steals (1.9 per game, fifth in the Ivy League) and is third in rebounds (4.2 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. That was one of three times this season she has reached the 20-point mark, including twice in the last seven games. She had 17 points and seven rebounds in Yale's Ivy League semifinal game vs. Princeton.

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

 

GORMAN ON THE BOARDS

Sophomore forward Megan Gorman (Vero Beach, Fla.) has been 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 reached double digits in rebounds three times in the last seven games. She had a career-high 16 boards in the 57-39 win at Dartmouth Jan. 27. Her 8.1 rebound average in Ivy games was sixth in the league.

Gorman is in Trumbull College at Yale 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 25 of the last 26 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 games. She is 43-for-54 (.796) from the free throw line, best among Bulldogs with 23 or more attempts.  

Andrews is in Berkeley College at Yale 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. Her grandfather, David Sears '53, played basketball at Yale and her uncle also went to Yale.

 

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 32-18 (.640) 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: 7-5 (.583)

 

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. In 2016-17 they finished with their best win total (15) since 2011-12, and they have matched that win total in the 2017-18 regular season.

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 BINGHAMTON

Binghamton (20-11, 10-6 America East) advanced to the WBI quarterfinals with a 70-59 win at Youngstown State last Wednesday. That was the Bearcats' first-ever Division I national postseason game. Guard Imani Watkins, the America East Player of the Year and Binghamton's all-time leading scorer, scored 27 points to lead all scorers. Center Alyssa James added 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.

James and Watkins had 23 points each when Binghamton last faced Yale, Dec. 2 -- a 73-69 overtime road win for the Bulldogs. The Bearcats went 3-0 against other Ivy League teams, beating Penn 77-72, Cornell 66-58 in overtime and Dartmouth 80-64.

Binghamton has won 20 games for the first time since 2000-2001, when it was a Division II program.

 

 

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

 

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