January 22, 2010

Bulldogs Return to New Haven for Ivy Home Opener

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - After wrapping up its non-conference schedule at Bryant on Monday, the Yale women’s basketball team gets back to Ivy League competition on Friday night against Brown. The 7 p.m. contest marks the Bulldogs’ return to the John J. Lee Amphitheater after a seven-game road trip. Yale enters the game at 5-10 overall and 0-1 in Ivy League play, while Brown sits at 4-11 overall and 1-0 against Ancient Eight competition. The game will be streamed live with Yale All-Access with John Song ’11 and Jonathan Zelig ‘11L on the call. The audio portion of that broadcast will also air live on WYBC, Yale’s student radio station.

Last Time Out
Freshman Megan Vasquez scored a game- and career-high 19 points and shared the game-high of eight rebounds for Yale at non-conference opponent Bryant on Monday afternoon, but the home Bulldogs from Rhode Island were able to hold off the New Haven Bulldogs by a final score of 69-62. Vasquez and senior Melissa Colborne each had seven points during a furious second-half rally that saw Yale storm back from 19 points down to cut the lead to a single bucket before Bryant pulled away for the seven-point win. Freshman Allie Messimer also had a career high for Yale with 12 points. Colborne and senior Haywood Wright each tallied nine points, while Wright joined Vasquez as the leader on the glass with eight boards.

Scouting Brown
The Bears enter tonight’s contest with an overall record of 4-11 and a 1-0 mark in Ivy League play. Brown is led offensively by 9.2 points per game from Hannah Passafuime and 9.0 points per contest from Christina Johnson. Natalie Bonds leads the way on the boards with 6.0 rebounds per game.

Last Meeting
Junior Mady Gobrecht posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead Yale, but Brown edged the Bulldogs in a defensive battle, 60-56, last Friday in Providence. Junior Yoyo Greenfield and freshman Megan Vasquez joined Gobrecht in double figures with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Senior Haywood Wright led the defense effort with five blocked shots. Aileen Daniels paced Brown with 15 points, while Lindsay Nickel (11 points) and Hannah Passafuime (10) also reached double figures. Natalie Bonds hauled in 10 rebounds and swatted four Yale shots.

Series History
Including the win last weekend in Providence, Brown holds a 43-26 edge in the all-time series, which dates back to the first season of Bulldogs varsity basketball in 1973-74. A Yale win tonight would mark the third time in the last four seasons that the home-and-home series has been split.

New Haven? Where’s That?
Monday’s contest at Bryant marked the last of seven consecutive games away from the familiar confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater for the Bulldogs. Yale’s 33-day hiatus from action in the Elm City spanned five states and three time zones. The Bulldogs also went 33 days without a home game last season, a stretch spanning six games from Nov. 18 to Dec. 21, 2008.

Doing It With Defense
In all five of their victories this season, the Bulldogs have held their opponents to just 60 points or fewer. Yale surrendered less than 20 points in the first half of wins against Army (15) and Bucknell (19), while holding Boston University to 22 first-half points and limiting Holy Cross to only 21 points in the second half of a comeback victory. Most recently, NJIT managed 58 points in a 10-point Yale road win on Jan. 9. UC Davis and Brown also tallied just 60 points against Yale, though both squads managed to hold off the Bulldogs and claim victory.

Block Parties

Junior Mady Gobrecht blocked a career-best six shots in the Bulldogs’ 68-58 win at NJIT on Jan. 9. Gobrecht, who ranks fourth in the Ivy League with 1.3 blocked shots per game, accounted for the most blocks by a Yale player since Erica Davis ’07 turned back seven Sacred Heart offerings on Nov. 25, 2006. Senior Haywood Wright, the third-most prolific shot blocker in Yale history with 97 in her career, swatted five shots in the Bulldogs’ next contest at Brown on Jan. 15.

Starting Strong
Freshman Megan Vasquez, who leads Yale with 11.5 points per game, has tallied double-figure points in her last nine contests, averaging 13.1 points per game during that stretch. Vasquez was named Ivy League Freshman of the Week after averaging 16.0 points in road contests against Sacred Heart and Kansas State, two teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season. She ranks 10th in the Ivy League in scoring and third among Ancient Eight freshmen.

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 one of five Yale players averaging over 8.0 points per game and is the Bulldogs’ top rebounder with 7.7 boards per contest, slotting her at fifth in the Ivy League on the glass. The sophomore has tallied three double-doubles in 2009-10.

Climbing the Ladder
Two-time All-Ivy honoree Melissa Colborne is once again one of Yale’s offensive pacesetters in 2009-10 with 8.9 points per game. The senior, who ranked second in the Ivy League in scoring in each of the last two seasons, currently ranks seventh in Yale history with 1,301 career 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 (451) and in a game without a miss (12-for-12), as well as for free throw attempts in a career (590). Her career free throw percentage of .764 is among the best in Yale history.

Spreading the Wealth
Though only one Yale player ranks among the top 10 scorers in the Ivy League (Megan Vasquez, 10th), the Bulldogs’ boast the only active roster in the Ancient Eight with five players averaging over 8.0 points per game. The Bulldogs, who have nine active players playing at least 10 minutes per game, have had five different players lead them in scoring and six different players lead the way in rebounding this season.

Schedule Strength
The 2009-10 Yale squad has challenged 2008-09 NCAA Regional Finalist Arizona State (L, 82-46) and NCAA Second Round participant Kansas State (L, 78-59) as well as 2008-09 conference champions Sacred Heart (L, 76-67) and North Carolina A&T (L, 80-79), which needed a buzzer beater to sneak past the Bulldogs on Nov. 28. Ivy League rival Dartmouth, last season’s Ancient Eight champion, will host Yale on Feb. 13 and will visit the John J. Lee Amphitheater on Feb. 26.

Picking on the Patriot
The Bulldogs went 3-0 against Patriot League foes this season, besting Holy Cross, Army and Bucknell. Yale was 1-2 against the same trio of opponents last season, posting a win at Holy Cross while dropping one-possession decisions to both the Bison (73-70) and Black Knights (62-60).

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 Nov. 13. 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.

A Sign of Things to Come
With 15 points in the season-opening win against Holy Cross on Nov. 13, Megan Vasquez became 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.

Branches on the Coaching Tree
Chris Gobrecht 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. 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 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.

Making the Rounds
The Bulldogs’ 14 non-conference games featured teams from nine different conferences: America East, Big 12, Big West, Great West, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern Athletic, Northeast, Pac-10 and Patriot. Additionally, Bryant is a Division I Independent in its probationary period (ineligible for postseason play) with the Northeast Conference.

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).

Don’t Bother Unpacking…
The Bulldogs’ return to the Elm City will be brief, as Yale will head back on the road for its next round of action: an Ivy League weekend at Penn and Princeton. Action from the Palestra in Philadelphia will tip off on Friday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m., while Jadwin Gymnasium in Princeton, N.J. hosts a 6 p.m. contest with the Tigers on Saturday, Jan. 30.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity

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