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Bulldogs Outlast Bucknell, 54-50

Melissa Colborne. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Melissa Colborne. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

LEWISBURG, Pa. – All season long, Chris Gobrecht has credited the tremendous depth of the Yale women’s basketball team as one of its biggest assets. That depth was in full effect on Saturday night at Bucknell, as the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women’s Basketball got points from all nine players who took the court. In the end, the Bulldogs needed every one of those points to hang on and best the host Bison, 54-50, at Sojka Pavilion in Lewisburg, Pa. Senior Melissa Colborne led the balanced attack with 10 points, and junior Mady Gobrecht chipped in with nine points and a team-high seven rebounds.

With the win, Yale snaps a three-game losing streak and evens its record at 3-3. The Bison fall to 2-6.

“Bucknell is tough and physical like an Ivy League team”, said Coach Gobrecht. “This was a very beneficial experience for us; it was basically an Ivy League road game in a lot of respects”.

Freshman Megan Vasquez knocked down three three-pointers to account for her nine points, as the Bulldogs shot 4-for-12 (33.3%) from beyond the arc. Junior Yoyo Greenfield contributed seven points to the scoring effort, and sophomore Michelle Cashen added five. Senior captain Ashley Carter and freshmen Allie Messimer and Ericka von Kaeppler each dropped in four points, and freshman Alicia Seelaus rounded out the Bulldogs’ offense with two points. As a team, Yale shot 19-for-48 (39.6%) from the field and 12=for-20 (60%) from the free throw line.

The Bison were led by 22 points and eight rebounds from Morgan Wrightson, as they shot 19-for-39 (48.7%) from the floor, 1-for-2 (50%) from three-point range and 11-for-13 (84.6%) from the charity stripe.

A pair of jumpers from Gobrecht paced Yale out to an 8-3 lead in the early stages of the contest, before Rachel Voss notched two points for the Bison to trim the lead to three. From that point forward, however, the Bulldog defense clamped down as Yale raced out to an 18-7 lead, allowing just one Bucknell field goal over the next 10:55. The squads played to a dead heat over the final 6:58 of the half, splitting the last 24 points of the frame, as Yale entered the intermission with an 11-point lead, 30-19.

Gobrecht and Greenfield each netted six points in the first half to lead Yale. As a team, the Bulldogs hit nearly half of their shots from the floor at 12-for-25 (48%). The defense held the Bison to just 38.4% shooting (8-for-22), as Bucknell got nine of its 19 first-half points from Wrightson. Yale, which was outrebounded 17-13 before halftime, was led on the glass by Gobrecht’s three boards.

Bucknell started the second half with its best stretch of the contest thus far, an 8-1 run over the first 4:40 of the stanza to cut the Yale lead to four points at 31-27. A Vasquez three-pointer ended the Bison spurt as the Bulldogs extended their lead back to eight points, 39-31, at the 12-minute media timeout. Yale would keep the Bison at arm’s length for most of the second half, but a Voss three-point play with 4:12 remaining cut the lead to one possession, 44-42, for the first time since the contest was just two minutes old. Colborne answered with a layup to bring the lead back to four points, but a Wrightson three-pointer and one of two free throws from Voss on the next two Bucknell trips knotted the score at 46-46 with 2:47 remaining in the game. A bucket from Cashen and a pair of foul shots from Voss kept the score deadlocked, and two Colborne free throws at the 1:45 mark gave the Bulldogs a two-point advantage at 50-48. After an empty trip for the Bison, Cashen followed her own miss and hit Gobrecht slashing to the hoop for a lay-in to extend the Yale lead to four points, 52-48, with under a minute to go. A Wrightson layup cut the lead back down to two, but Carter connected on a pair of free throws on the ensuing Bulldogs’ trip to maintain the four-point cushion, and a Greenfield steal sealed the victory for Yale, 54-50.

“Our mistake was not taking a larger lead while our defense was playing so well in the first half”, said Gobrecht. “We didn’t play our best, but you aren’t going to play your best every time you go on the road, and tonight we overcame it”.

Yale returns to the court on Dec. 9, as action returns to the John J. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven, Conn. The Bulldogs will welcome Boston University to the Elm City for a 5:30 p.m. contest.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity