November 13, 2009

Bulldogs Open 2009-10 Slate with Holy Cross

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Friday night marks the beginning of the 37th season of Yale women’s basketball, as the Bulldogs host the College of the Holy Cross in a non-conference tilt. Action from the John J. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven, Conn. begins at 7:30 p.m. The contest will be streamed live via Yale All-Access.

Familiar Faces
The Bulldogs return four starters and eight letterwinners in total from the 2008-09 campaign. In addition, Yale expects to return junior Lindsey Williams, a unanimous 2007-08 All-Ivy Rookie Team selection who missed the entirety of last season due to injury, in time for the Ivy League slate.

Room for Six More
Yale has reloaded its lineup for 2009-10 with six freshmen expected to make an immediate impact for the Bulldogs. Guards Allie Messimer, Megan Vasquez and Aarica West and forwards Alicia Seelaus, Ericka von Kaeppler and Emily Wanger comprise the nationally-recognized Yale Class of 2013.

The Bulldogs in 2008-09
Shorthanded for much of the Ivy League season, Yale went 4-10 in Ancient Eight play in 2008-09 and 11-17 overall. Melissa Colborne earned a spot on the All-Ivy Second Team, and Michelle Cashen punctuated her freshman season with a selection to the All-Ivy Rookie Team. With a healthy roster in the pre-Ivy League season of 2008-09, Yale defeated North Carolina State- the program’s first-ever win over an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent- and was tied with Southeastern Conference foe Kentucky with 15 seconds remaining in the contest.

Scouting Holy Cross
Coming off of a 13-17 season in which they finished fourth in the Patriot League, the Holy Cross Crusaders have been picked to finish in a tie for second place in the 2009-10 Patriot League Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Holy Cross, which is also opening its 2009-10 season on Friday, returns nine letterwinners, including four projected starters, from last season’s squad. The Crusaders are led by Briana McFadden, a 2008-09 first team All-Patriot League and 2009-10 preseason All-Patriot League honoree. McFadden averaged 14.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest last season.

In 2008-09…
In the 2008-09 season opener, Melissa Colborne scored 14 points and Mady Gobrecht hauled down a game-high 11 rebounds to propel the Bulldogs to a 65-63 victory over Holy Cross. Yoyo Greenfield and Haywood Wright joined Colborne in double-figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively. The Crusaders’ Briana McFadden led all players in scoring with 24 points in the losing effort.

Series History
The Bulldogs’ win in last season’s opener cut the Holy Cross lead in the all-time series to 6-4. The series is tied, 2-2, in four meetings at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

That’s a Lot of W’s
With 476 career wins, Holy Cross Head Coach Bill Gibbons is the lone coach on the Bulldogs’ schedule with more career Division I victories entering 2009-10 than Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women’s Basketball at Yale. Gobrecht, who has 460 career victories, and Gibbons are both topped by a third coach who will be on the sidelines this Friday: Yale Associate Head Coach Dianne Nolan, who amassed 517 wins as head coach of St. Francis (N.Y.) and Fairfeld.

Climbing the Ladder
Two-time All-Ivy honoree Melissa Colborne enters her senior season ranked ninth in Yale history with 1,171 career points. She is 12 points behind Kelly LeComte ’86 (1,183) for eighth all-time, and an even 200 points shy of the all-time top five (Lisa Brummel ’81, 1,371). In 2008-09, Colborne eclipsed the program records for free throws made in a game (14, at UC Riverside, 12/30/08), season (156) and career (413). Her career free throw percentage of .773 (413-534) is fifth-best in Yale history.

Nice to Meet You
Non-conference games against Toledo, North Carolina A&T (possible opponent), UC Davis and Colorado will all be first-time meetings.

Schedule Strength
Five teams on the Bulldogs’ slate participated in the 2009 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. Dartmouth, Sacred Heart and North Carolina A&T all received automatic bids as conference champions and lost in the first round to higher-seeded opponents. Kansas State advanced to the second round as a No. 5 seed, and No. 6-seeded Arizona State’s season ended in the Regional Finals (Elite Eight) at the hands of the eventual national champion, Connecticut.

Making the Rounds
Including possible opponents, the Bulldogs’ 14 non-conference games could feature as many as 10 different conferences (Big XII, Big West, Colonial, Great West, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern Athletic, Mountain West, Northeast, Pac-10, Patriot) as well a Division I independent (Bryant).

Top Dogs
Though there are 32 American universities with the “Bulldogs” mascot, last season’s win over Bryant marked just the second time that Yale women’s basketball had met another team sporting the “Bulldogs” moniker. The 2003-04 Yale Bulldogs dropped a 69-48 decision to the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Nov. 29, 2003 as a part of the Seattle Times Classic.

Every Day is Mother’s Day
Junior forward Mady Gobrecht is the daughter of head coach Chris Gobrecht. They are one of two active mother-daughter, coach-player tandems in Division I women’s basketball (Southern Mississippi: Coach Joye Lee-McNelis and Whitney McNelis). This is the sixth time in Yale’s 156-year athletic history that a head coach is mentoring his or her child in a varsity sport, and the first where the combo is mother-daughter (men’s fencing: Robert & Maurice Grasson, 1936-38; baseball: Smoky Joe & Joseph Wood, 1939-41; men’s basketball: Howard & David Hobson, 1952-55; men’s squash: John & Jack Skillman, 1954-55; football: Jordan & Harry Olivar, 1957-59).

Next in Line
The Bulldogs return to the court on Tuesday, Nov. 17 as Army visits the Elm City for a 7 p.m. contest. The 24th meeting with the Black Knights, who hosted and defeated Yale, 62-60, last season, will make Army the Bulldogs’ most frequent non-conference opponent.

Information
Yale Women's Basketball
Holy Cross Women's Basketball

Media Links
Yale All-Access Streaming Video
Live Stats

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity