July 25, 2024
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YU Women’s Basketball Rallies to Earn Crucial Skyline Victory

(www.yumacs.com) The Yeshiva University women’s basketball team earned a crucial Skyline triumph over Sarah Lawrence College, 82-65, at Campbell Sports Center on Saturday evening.

Impact of YU’s Victory: Yeshiva strengthens its playoff position with the win. The Maccabees (9-9, 6-8 Skyline) now lead both the Gryphons (6-13, 4-10 Skyline) and the Dolphins of College of Mount Saint Vincent (9-12, 5-11 Skyline) by two full games for the sixth and final playoff seed in the Skyline standings. YU only had a one-game lead over Sarah Lawrence heading into tonight’s pivotal matchup which made this a big victory for the Blue and White.

Both Yeshiva and Sarah Lawrence have four conference games remaining, while Mount Saint Vincent only has two league contests left this season. Thanks to the Maccabees winning both head-to-head matchups with the Gryphons this year, they now have the head-to-head tiebreaker over them. YU is only a game behind St. Joseph’s University Brooklyn (10-9, 7-7) for fifth place in the conference.

Overcoming a Slow Start With a Strong Finish

Yeshiva fell behind, 13-2, 4:33 into the contest. However, the Maccabees closed the gap and were neck and neck with the Gryphons from late in the opening period through the second and third stanzas. Yeshiva dominated the fourth quarter by outscoring the opposition 23-8, including 15 unanswered points to begin the stanza, to earn the come-from-behind Skyline victory.

“The team battled adversity and pulled together to win,” Yeshiva University Head Coach Bill Zatulskis said. “It was a tough physical game. I am so proud of them!”

Leading the Way for the Maccabees

Five Yeshiva players reached double-figures in scoring. Junior guard Shai Rahamim had a very productive evening to spark the Macs, leading all players with 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field, including 5-for-8 from 3-point range. The Ramat Gan native also had eight assists and four steals.

Sophomore guard Abigail Koenig scored a career-high 15 points, converting six out of nine shot attempts in the process, while bringing down three rebounds. Senior guard Yuval Nitzan produced a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while dishing out five assists. Junior guard Daniella Bessler had an outstanding game with 14 points, eight boards, seven assists and a pair of steals. Senior forward Gabrielle Kupferman had 11 points, four rebounds and two steals.

How it Happened

After Yeshiva fell behind, 13-2 in the early stages of the game, Rahamim and Nitzan helped Yeshiva turn it around by combining for back-to-back triples to pull YU to within five. The Gryphons scored the next basket, a shot from downtown, to extend their lead to six. Koenig got the Maccabees closer by launching a 3-point field goal and then a layup in back-to-back possessions to narrow YU’s deficit to three, at 16-13, with 3:01 left to play in the first quarter.

Later in the stanza, Bessler drained a pair of shots from the charity stripe to tie the game at 19 points apiece. After Sarah Lawrence regained the advantage by two, Rahamim took a feed from Nitzan and buried a three-point shot that gave Yeshiva its first lead of the game, 22-21, with 25 ticks left in the stanza. However, senior guard Jordyn Medina’s jump shot gave the Gryphons the benefit again, 23-22, with 10 seconds left. That would be the score after 10 minutes of play.

The second quarter featured eight lead changes. With Yeshiva down, 35-32, Nitzan drained back-to-back triples to propel the Maccabees to a 38-35 advantage with 2:31 to go. Sarah Lawrence countered with an 8-2 run to close out the half to put the home team in front, 43-40, going into the intermission.

After falling behind, 46-42, in the early stages of the second half, Yeshiva poured on 12 unanswered points to take a 54-46 hold with 5:38 left in the third quarter. The highlight of Yeshiva’s blitz was a triple from Rahamim and a pair of layups from Koenig. Sarah Lawrence countered with six straight points to shrink YU’s lead to two.

Senior forward Daniella Rothman disrupted the opposition’s momentum with a jump shot to extend Yeshiva’s benefit to four. The Maccabees then took a 59-57 vantage into the final period of regulation time.

Yeshiva completely took over the game once the fourth quarter hit, as the Macs opened the period with 15 straight points to take a commanding 74-57 hold, with just 3:30 to go in regulation. Rahamim began the game-altering rally with a 3-point field goal in the opening minute. Kupferman provided the highlight of the run by converting a layup, while being bumped, and then adding a free throw to complete the traditional three-point play. Koenig capped off the blitz with a free throw to equal YU’s largest lead of the evening. The Macs’ defense held the Gryphons scoreless for the first 7:15 of the stanza.

Sarah Lawrence could not get back into the contest and Yeshiva went on to earn the pivotal conference matchup to bolster its chances of reaching the Skyline Championships for the first time in program history.

Also Propelling the Maccabees

Rothman added eight points and three rebounds. Sophomore forward Mia Denti brought down two boards and hit a free throw.

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