Defensive Struggle Goes to Columbia, 64-47

Megan Vasquez. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Megan Vasquez. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW YORK – When the Yale women’s basketball team hosted Columbia on Feb. 6, the Bulldogs netted a season-best 81 points en route to winning an offensive slugfest, 81-74. The story was very different in the second meeting between the two squads at Levien Gymnasium in New York City on Friday night, as the Lions got the best of a defensive battle, pulling out a 64-47 victory. Freshman Megan Vasquez had a team-best 13 points for Yale, while Columbia’s Judie Lomax led all players with 21 points and 21 rebounds.

“It’s very tough to win on the road in this league,” said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women’s Basketball at Yale. “Our inexperienced showed tonight, and we had no answer for Judie Lomax”.

With the loss, Yale falls to 12-15 overall and 7-6 in the Ivy League. Columbia improves to 17-10 on the season with an 8-5 mark in Ancient Eight play.

Haywood Wright netted eight points for Yale, which shot 34.2% (13-38) from the field, 22.2% (2-9) from three-point range and 55.9% (19-34) from the free throw line. Sophomore Michelle Cashen had seven points and senior Melissa Colborne tallied six. Junior Mady Gobrecht notched four points to go along with her team-high five rebounds, and freshman Alicia Seelaus picked up four points from the charity stripe. Senior captain Ashley Carter added three points and junior Yoyo Greenfield had two to round out the Yale offensive effort.

Complementing Lomax’s big night for the Lions was Danielle Browne, who had 17 points. Melissa Shafer also reached double figures for the home team with 13 points off the bench. The Lions shot 43.9% (25-57) from the field, 35.7% (5-14) from three-point range and 42.9% (9-21) from the free throw line. Columbia also outrebounded the Bulldogs, 43-31, and forced 24 Yale turnovers.

Columbia jumped out to an early 13-6 lead, before a Wright three-pointer trimmed the advantage to four points at 13-9 with 14:46 remaining in the half. That bucket, however, would be the Bulldogs’ last field goal for the next 8:40 of play, as the Lions claimed a more comfortable 16-point cushion at 28-12. Yale controlled the final stretch of first-half action, paced by four late points from Vasquez, but Columbia put enough points on the scoreboard over the final five minutes to head to locker room holding a double-digit advantage at 33-21.

Wright had seven first-half points to lead the Yale effort, as the Bulldogs shot 33.3% (7-21) from the floor, 16.7% (1-6) from three-point range and 60% (6-10) from the free throw line. Vasquez had five points prior to the intermission and shared the team best of three rebounds with Mady Gobrecht. Lomax had 12 points and 12 boards in the first half as Columbia won the battle on the glass, 23-15. The home team also got nine first-half points from Browne as the Lions shot 41.4% (12-29) from the floor, 25% (2-8) from downtown and 58.3% (7-12) from the charity stripe.

Columbia started the second half on an 8-2 run, taking its largest lead of the night at 41-23. Despite tough defense over the next stretch of action, Yale would endure another extended span without a field goal, going 6:34 without a bucket from the floor and falling behind by 16 points at 45-29. The Bulldogs would respond with a 7-2 run to trim the lead to 11 points at 47-36, and a pair of Seelaus free throws brought Yale back within nine points at 49-40. Columbia fired back with the next eight points to take a 19-point lead, and soon built an advantage as large as 20 points as the Bulldogs went 6:23 without a field goal- their third stretch of six minutes without a bucket in the contest. Yale added seven more points in the closing minutes, but when the final buzzer sounded, the home team walked away with a 64-47 win.

The Bulldogs will wrap up the 2009-10 season tomorrow night at Cornell, with tip-off from Ithaca slated for 7 p.m. Big Red hosted and fell to Brown tonight, 74-58.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity