Bulldogs Continue Ivy Play at Penn and Princeton

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

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Coming off of a convincing 67-43 victory over Brown on Friday night, the Yale women’s basketball team looks to keep firing on all cylinders as Ivy League play continues at Penn and Princeton. After splitting their home-and-home series with the Bears, the Bulldogs enter the first full weekend of Ancient Eight competition at 6-10 overall and 1-1 in Ivy League play. This weekend, action from the Palestra in Philadelphia will tip off on Friday at 7 p.m., while Jadwin Gym in Princeton, N.J. hosts a 6 p.m. contest with the Tigers on Saturday.

Last Time Out
Ten different players scored for the Bulldogs, led by 11 points each from junior Yoyo Greenfield and sophomore Michelle Cashen, as Yale ran past Brown on Jan. 22 by a score of 67-43. Yale committed a season-low 13 turnovers, finishing the game with no miscues over the final 10:17. Joining Greenfield and Cashen in double figures was senior Haywood Wright, who netted 10 points. Freshman Megan Vasquez, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer in 2009-10, had eight points and hauled in a career-best nine rebounds. Senior Melissa Colborne also poured in eight points, while junior Mady Gobrecht and freshman Michelle Cashen each tallied six. Gobrecht also pulled down eight rebounds as Yale was barely edged on the glass, 42-41. Junior Victoria Perez had three points for Yale, and senior captain Ashley Carter and freshman Ericka von Kaeppler rounded out the Bulldogs’ scoring effort with two points apiece.

Scouting Penn
Currently sitting at 1-14 overall and 0-1 in the Ivy League, the Penn Quakers enter the weekend on a five-game losing streak. The Quakers, who lost handily to Princeton, 70-39, in their first Ivy League contest of 2009-10, are led offensively by 10.0 points per game from Sarah Bucar. Bucar is also among the Ivy League leaders in three-point shooting, draining 1.7 triples per game, while Jess Knapp leads the way on the glass with 6.8 boards per game. Penn and Yale did not play any common opponents in the non-conference season.

Last Meeting
The Bulldogs hosted and defeated Penn on Feb. 27. 2009 to salvage a split of the season series with the Quakers. Eight different Bulldogs netted a field goal in the 61-51 win, led by Mady Gobrecht and Yoyo Greenfield with 14 points each. Gobrecht grabbed eight rebounds to go along with her 14 points, while Greenfield reached double figures via a 7-for-9 day at the free throw line, including a 4-for-4 performance in the final minute to preserve the Yale victory. Joining Gobrecht and Greenfield in double figures was Melissa Colborne, who netted 10 points while also hauling in seven rebounds and distributing a game-high five assists. Michelle Cashen, making her first career start, led the Bulldogs with 10 rebounds.

Series History
Last season’s home-and-home split saw Penn maintain its two-game cushion in the all-time series, which the Quakers lead by a 33-31 tally. The season series has been split in three of Coach Gobrecht’s four previous seasons at Yale, with Penn disrupting that trend by taking both games in 2006-07.

Scouting Princeton

One of the favorites to claim the 2009-10 Ivy League Championship, Princeton currently sits at 13-2 overall and 1-0 in Ancient Eight play after downing Penn, 70-39, on Jan. 9. The Tigers, winners of eight straight games entering the first full weekend of Ivy play, boast three players among the league’s top 10 in scoring: Niveen Rasheed (2nd, 16.9 ppg), Lauren Edwards (5th, 12.9) and Addie Micir (6th, 12.4). Rasheed, a freshman, also rates third in the Ivy League in rebounding with 7.9 boards per contest. Devona Allgood has also been a threat for the Tigers, averaging 10.2 points per game while also hauling in 7.6 rebounds per outing. Princeton and Yale did not play any common opponents in the non-conference season.

Last Meeting

Despite double-figure scoring performances from Melissa Colborne and Yoyo Greenfield, Yale fell to visiting Princeton on Feb. 28, 2009 at the John J. Lee Amphitheater by a score of 61-53. Colborne netted 16 to lead the Bulldogs, while Greenfield added 13 points. Mady Gobrecht hauled in 10 rebounds to lead the Yale effort on the glass, and Michelle Cashen netted eight points and grabbed seven boards.

Series History

Including last season’s split, which saw the road team win both encounters, Princeton holds a 41-30 edge in the all-time series. The Tigers and Bulldogs have split the home-and-home series in each of the last three seasons.

Doing It With Defense
In all six 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) and limited Brown to just 19 points in the second half of a 67-43 victory on Jan. 22. UC Davis and Brown (first meeting, Jan. 15 in Providence) also tallied just 60 points against Yale, though both squads managed to hold off the Bulldogs and claim victory.

Freshman Phenom
Freshman Megan Vasquez, who leads Yale with 11.3 points per game in 2009-10, earned Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors for the second time this season after posting 13.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in two contests last week. Thus far in 2009-10, Vasquez has made five starts in 16 games and averages 26.0 minutes of action per contest. In addition to her team-best scoring output, which ranks her third among Ivy League freshmen and 11th in the Ancient Eight overall, she ranks sixth in the league in free throw percentage (.750) and 20th in rebounding (4.4 rpg). Vasquez has scored in double figures 11 times this season, including a string of nine straight games from Dec. 9 to Jan. 18. Vasquez previously earned Rookie of the Week laurels after averaging 16.0 points in road contests against Sacred Heart and Kansas State, two teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season.

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 (8.2 ppg) and is the Bulldogs’ top rebounder with 7.4 boards per contest, slotting her at sixth in the Ivy League on the glass. The sophomore, who is also among the Ancient Eight’s best at the free throw line with a .771 shooting percentage, has tallied three double-doubles in 2009-10.

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 third in the Ivy League with 1.4 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 101 in her career, swatted five shots in the Bulldogs’ next contest at Brown on Jan. 15.

Climbing the Ladder

Two-time All-Ivy honoree Melissa Colborne is once again one of Yale’s offensive pacesetters in 2009-10 with 8.6 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 1,309 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 (593). Colborne’s career free throw percentage of .761 is among the best in Yale history.

Spreading the Wealth
Though only no Yale player ranks among the top 10 scorers in the Ivy League, the Bulldogs boast the only roster in the Ancient Eight with five active 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.

New Haven? Where’s That?
The Bulldogs ushered out 2009 and welcomed in 2010 with seven consecutive games away from the familiar confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater. Yale’s 33-day hiatus from action in the Elm City, which started in nearby Hamden, Conn. at Quinnipiac and ranged as far west as Boulder, Colo., 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.

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).

The Empire (State) Strikes Back
The Bulldogs return home next weekend as the Ivy League’s New York contingent visits the John J. Lee Amphitheater. Cornell treks the Elm City on Friday, Feb. 5 for a 7 p.m. showdown, and Columbia, which travels to Brown on Friday, will challenge the Bulldogs on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. Both games will feature live stats as well as streaming audio and video via Yale All-Access.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity