Yale Defense Shuts Down Army, 55-42

Ashley Carter. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – While the Yale women’s basketball team was successful in playing catch-up in the season-opening win against Holy Cross on Friday, the Bulldogs took a more traditional path to victory in Tuesday’s win over visiting Army at John J. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven. Yale started the contest on a 10-2 run never looked back, holding the Black Knights to just 15 points in the first half en route to taking a 55-42 decision.

With the win, Yale improves to 2-0 for the first time since the 1998-99 campaign. Army, which won its season opener on Friday, has now dropped two straight contests to fall to 1-2.

The Black Knights actually had a better shooting day than the Bulldogs, posting a .333 (19-for-57) mark to Yale’s .311 (19-for-61) showing, but Yale decisively won the battle on the boards, 51-37, and played aggressively to earn 22 more trips to the free throw line than Army to solidify the victory.

“Tough teams will make you play ugly,” said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women’s Basketball at Yale. “We didn’t shoot nearly as well as we are capable of shooting, but our rebounding and defense made up for it”.

Senior Melissa Colborne led the Bulldogs’ offensive effort with 14 points, moving past Kelly LeComte ’86 into eighth place on Yale’s all-time scoring list with 1,191 points. Colborne also matched her career high with eight rebounds. Sophomore Michelle Cashen had 12 points and a game-best 11 rebounds to record her second straight double-double to open 2009. Junior Mady Gobrecht had eight points, senior captain Ashley Carter had seven and junior Yoyo Greenfield chipped in with five points. Freshman Allie Messimer contributed four points for the Bulldogs, while freshman Megan Vasquez had three points and a game-high three assists. Freshman Alicia Seelaus rounded out the Yale scoring with two points, and also crashed the boards effectively with eight rebounds, including four off of the offensive glass.

While it took Yale nearly seven minutes to crack the scoreboard on Friday, the Bulldogs came out firing with a 10-2 run to open the contest against the Black Knights. A three-pointer by Megan Vasquez with 10:31 left in the half ran the score to 18-6, and the Bulldogs would maintain that double-digit lead for the remainder of the contest. A late 13-2 spurt, highlighted by four points from Cashen, gave Yale its largest lead of the half at 35-13 with 1:47 remaining in the frame. The Bulldogs carried that 22-point cushion into the intermission, leading comfortably at 37-15. Carter, Cashen and Colborne each netted seven points in the first half to lead all players. Colborne’s seven rebounds before the intermission were also the half-high.

Army would control the action to begin the second half, opening with a 15-3 run to come back to within 10 points at 40-30 with just under 12 minutes left to play. A pair of empty trips later, however, and the Black Knights were back down by 14 points with the end of the contest fast approaching. The stifling Yale defense held Army at arm’s length for the remainder of the contest as the Bulldogs coasted to the final buzzer for a 55-42 victory.
Erin Anthony scored a game-high 15 points to lead the Black Knights. Anthony also pulled down eight rebounds, while Nalini Hawkins neared a double-double for Army with 11 points and nine boards.

“I have nothing but respect for the service academies,” said Coach Gobrecht, whose son, Eric, is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. “I wish Army the best of luck the rest of the way”.

The Bulldogs are back in action on Thursday as 1-0 Arizona State, ranked No. 7 in the most recent ESPN/USA Today Poll, visits the John J. Lee Amphitheater for a 7 p.m. contest. The game will be streamed live via Yale All-Access featuring audio commentary from John Song ’11 and Leroy Cole ’12 from WYBC, Yale’s student radio station.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity