UC Davis Holds Off Bulldogs, 60-55

Haywood Wright. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Haywood Wright. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – While the Yale women’s basketball team knew it would have its hands full with visiting UC Davis on Saturday evening at the John J. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven, the Bulldogs had another foe to contend with in addition to a tough Aggies’ squad: a 10-day layoff from the basketball court. Despite a game-best 16 points from junior Mady Gobrecht to lead three Yale players in double-figures, the Bulldogs’ rust proved to be the difference as Yale was unable to overcome 29 turnovers and a 39.6% shooting percentage, ultimately falling to UC Davis by a score of 60-55.

“We played like a team that just had final exams,” said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women’s Basketball at Yale, “and our rust really showed".

With the loss, Yale drops to an even 4-4 on the season. The Aggies, now winners of five straight contests, improved to 7-3.

Junior Yoyo Greenfield netted 11 points for Yale, and freshman Megan Vasquez netted 10 points and pulled down a career-best seven rebounds in her first career start. Sophomore Michelle Cashen hauled in a game-high nine rebounds as the Bulldogs outrebounded UC Davis, 41-28. Gobrecht hauled in eight rebounds and swatted three shots for Yale, which rejected 10 Aggies’ offering in the contest.

Another positive sign for Yale was the return of senior Haywood Wright, who saw her first action in 10 months after missing the end of the 2008-09 season with a knee injury. Wright scored four points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked three shots in 17 minutes of work off of the Yale bench.

The Aggies, who shot 41.1% from the floor, were led by 11 points by Kasey Riecks. Haylee Donaghe contributed 10 points to the UC Davis scoring effort, and Heidi Heintz had a team-best five rebounds.

The Aggies started the contest with an 11-2 run over the first four minutes of action and soon expanded their lead to 11 points at 17-6. The Bulldogs would chisel the early deficit back down to five points thanks in part to three quick buckets by Gobrecht, but the visitors stayed tough and were soon holding a double-digit lead once again at 28-18. With Yale in need of an offensive boost prior to the intermission, freshman Allie Messimer drained a three-pointer that keyed a 9-3 run over the final 2:36 of the half to pull Yale within two points, 33-31.

Gobrecht and Greenfield each scored seven first half points to lead all players. Donaghe and Lauren Juric paced the Aggies’ offense, which shot 50% from the field in the opening stanza, with six points apiece.

The two-point difference held over the opening minutes of the second half, before an 8-0 UC Davis run brought the lead to 10 points at 45-35. The Bulldogs immediately responded in kind with a 9-0 spurt to trim the deficit all the way down to a single point, 45-44, with 10:41 remaining in regulation. Yale was unable to break even with the Aggies, however, and the lead grew back to a seemingly insurmountable eight points at 57-49 with 3:14 left. But the UC Davis offense went cold at that point, missing their next four shots, and Gobrecht was soon draining a layup off of an offensive board to cut the lead back to two points, 57-55, with 1:13 remaining. That would be the last shot that Yale attempted in the contest, however as, after the Aggies sank one of two free throws, the Bulldogs final trip to the offensive end of the floor ended in a turnover. UC Davis drained two free throws in the closing seconds to polish off its first ever contest in the Nutmeg State with a 60-55 win.

The Bulldogs will be back in action on Monday, Dec. 21, as a short trip to Quinnipiac kicks off a seven-game road swing. Action from the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn. is slated for 7 p.m.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity