Bulldogs Look to Get Back on Track at Bucknell

Mady Gobrecht, Yoyo Greenfield, Michelle Cashen, Megan Vasquez and Ashley Carter. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Mady Gobrecht, Yoyo Greenfield, Michelle Cashen, Megan Vasquez and Ashley Carter. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Complete Game Notes as PDF

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women’s basketball team heads to Lewisburg, Pa. this weekend looking to snap a three-game losing streak against its third Patriot League foe of the 2009-10 season, Bucknell. The Bulldogs (2-3) and Bison (2-5) will meet at Sojka Pavilion on Saturday evening for a 7 p.m. tip-off. The contest will feature complimentary live stats and audio with pay-per-view video also available.

Last Time Out
The Bulldogs dropped a pair of games against stiff competition at the Holiday Inn & Suites Express Midtown Thanksgiving Tournament hosted by the University of New Mexico. Yale fell to Toledo, which went on to upset the host Lobos and win the tournament, on Friday by a score of 78-61. The next night, 2008-09 MEAC Tournament Champion and NCAA Tournament participant North Carolina A&T needed a buzzer beater to sneak past the Bulldogs, 80-79. Senior Melissa Colborne averaged 15.0 points per game during the two-game stint in Albuquerque.

Picking on the Patriot
Yale’s two wins thus far in 2009-10 have come against Holy Cross and Army, both of which are members of the Patriot League alongside Bucknell. Against the same trio of opponents last season, the Bulldogs were 1-2, posting a win at Holy Cross while dropping one-possession decisions to both the Bison (73-70) and Black Knights (62-60).

Leading the Way
Two-time All-Ivy honoree Melissa Colborne is once again Yale offensive pacesetter in 2009-10 with 11.4 points per game. The senior, who ranked second in the Ivy League in scoring in each of the last two seasons, currently ranks eighth in Yale history with 1,228 career points. Colborne is 34 points away from the seventh slot on the list, held by Erica Davis ’07 (1,262 points) and 143 points shy of the all-time top five (Lisa Brummel ’81, 1,371 points). The former Ivy League Rookie of the Year has already eclipsed the Yale program records for free throws made in a game (14), a season (156), a career (424) and in a game without a miss (12-for-12), as well as for free throw attempts in a career (554). Her career free throw percentage of .765 is fifth-best in Yale history.

No Sophomore Slump
Sophomore Michelle Cashen, a 2008-09 All-Ivy Rookie Team selection, has been one of the Bulldogs’ most consistent players this season. Cashen is currently Yale’s second-leading scorer with 9.4 points per game and the Bulldogs’ top rebounder with 7.6 boards per contest. The sophomore has also played a team-best 28.2 minutes per game and has tallied two double-doubles in 2009-10.

Spreading the Wealth
Yale’s active roster boasts six players averaging at least 5.0 points per game, led by 11.4 per contest from Melissa Colborne. The Bulldogs, who have eight players averaging over 15 minutes per game, have had three different players leading them in scoring and four different players lead the way in rebounding through five games this season.

On Lockdown
The Bulldogs surrendered just 42 points in the Nov. 17 victory over Army, including only 15 points allowed over the first 20 minutes en route to building a 37-15 halftime lead. The Black Knights’ offense had averaged 61 points per game prior to that contest in New Haven.

Double Double-Doubles
Sophomore Michelle Cashen (13 pts., 15 rebs.) and junior Mady Gobrecht (12 pts., 10 rebs.) both posted double-doubles in the Bulldogs’ season-opening victory over Holy Cross on Friday. The last time two Yale players had double-doubles in the same game was on Jan. 13, 2007, when Erica Davis ’07 (21 pts., 11 rebs.) and Chinenye Okafor ’07 (10 pts., 13 rebs.) each performed the feat against Brown.

Starting Strong
Freshman Megan Vasquez led all Bulldogs with 15 points in her collegiate debut against Holy Cross on Nov. 13. Vasquez, who scored six points during a 13-0 run in the second-half that cut the Crusaders’ lead from 17 to 4 and later iced the game with four free throws in the final 24 seconds, shot 4-for-14 from the field and 7-for-8 from the charity stripe in the contest. She is the first freshman to lead Yale in scoring in her collegiate debut since Kaitlyn Lillemoe ’09 scored a team-best 19 points against New Hampshire to open the 2005-06 season.

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.

Scouting Bucknell
Bucknell (2-5) welcomes Yale to Lewisburg on Saturday on a two-game losing skid. The Bison are 2-2 at Sojka Pavilion in 2009-10, having posted wins against Fordham and Loyola (Md.) and losses to Penn State and Maryland-Baltimore County on their home court. Most recently, Bucknell was held to just 41 points at Niagara on Wednesday, en route to dropping a 66-41 decision to the Purple Eagles in Lewiston, N.Y. The Bison are led offensively by Morgan Wrightson (12.3 ppg) and Joyce Novacek (11.6 ppg). Cosima Higham shares the bulk of the rebounding duties with Novacek, with each averaging a team-best 8.3 boards per game.

Series History
Bucknell’s 73-70 victory in New Haven last season knotted the all-time series between the Bulldogs and Bison at 2-2. Yale hosted and defeated Bucknell, 62-43, on Dec. 7, 1997, lost in Lewisburg by a score of 49-40 on Dec. 3, 1995 and won on the Bison’s home court, 74-56, on Jan. 9, 1994.

They Started as Stags
Bucknell Head Coach Kathy Fedorjaka played collegiately for Yale Associate Head Coach Dianne Nolan during Nolan’s tenure as head coach at Fairfield University. Nolan also coached Quinnipiac Head Coach Tricia (Sacca) Fabbri as a player and employed Jean Marie Burr, the current head coach at Brown University, as an assistant coach during her time on the Stags’ sidelines.

Branches on the Coaching Tree

Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women’s Basketball at Yale, was very familiar with her counterparts on the Arizona State bench on Nov. 19. Charli Turner Thorne, the head coach of the Sun Devils, was an assistant on Gobrecht’s staff at the University of Washington. Prior to the Sun Devils’ postseason matchup with Connecticut, the New Haven Register cited that Thorne “still teaches the defensive principles she first learned from [Gobrecht]”. In addition, Arizona State Associate Head Coach Meg (Gallagher) Sanders played collegiately on Gobrecht’s Cal State Fullerton squad from 1982-85.

That’s a Lot of W’s

With 460 wins in her career entering 2009-10, Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women’s Basketball at Yale ranks 30th among active Division I coaches in all-time victories. Among coaches on Yale’s 2009-10 schedule, only Bill Gibbons of Holy Cross (476 wins) has more career victories than Gobrecht. Gobrecht and Gibbons are both topped, however, by another coach from the Yale sidelines: Associate Head Coach Dianne Nolan, who amassed 517 wins as head coach of St. Francis (N.Y.) and Fairfield.

Nice to Meet You
Upcoming non-conference games against UC Davis and at Colorado will be first-time meetings. Both of Yale’s opponents in the Holiday Inn & Suites Express Midtown Thanksgiving Tournament, Toledo and North Carolina A&T, were first-time opponents for the Bulldogs.

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
The Bulldogs’ 14 non-conference games will feature 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.

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.

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).

Dog Eat Dog
The Bulldogs will be back in action on Dec. 9, as the Boston University Terriers visit the John J. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. with the Yale men’s basketball team to challenge Bryant afterwards (approx. 7:30 p.m.).

Yale Women's Basketball
Bucknell Women's Basketball

Live Stats
Streaming Audio
Streaming Video

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity