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Bulldogs Tabbed for Fourth in Ivy League Preseason Poll

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

Yale Opens Season on Nov. 12 in Non-Conference Tilt at Holy Cross

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. — There are high expectations for the 2010-11 season inside the locker room of the Yale women's basketball team with four returning starters from a group that finished 8-6 in Ivy League play last season and an influx of fresh talent coming from the four members of the Class of 2014. But if the Bulldogs are to complete their quest for the second Ivy League championship in their history and first since 1979, they are going to have to exceed the expectations of the voters in the Ivy League preseason poll.

The Bulldogs were selected this week to finish fourth in the conference standings for the second consecutive season, receiving 84 points from a panel of Ivy League media and women's basketball sports information directors.

Despite the lower-than-anticipated expectations of the voters, Chris Gobrecht, entering her sixth season as Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball at Yale and her 31st season at the helm of a Division I program, is optimistic that 2010-11 will be a breakout campaign for the deep Bulldogs' squad. After all, her team was selected to finish fifth in last year's preseason poll and exceeded those expectations by the time the 2009-10 campaign was complete, and she has every reason to believe her players can prove the naysayers wrong again by the time the 2010-11 season concludes in March.

 "We are a better team than a year ago, so we have high hopes for the Ivy League season," Gobrecht said.  "Princeton has set the bar high, but I believe many teams in this league are capable of reaching that bar, and we are one of them. The league just keeps getting better and better. I expect the Ivy League teams to not only compete night in and night out in the league, but to have great success in non-conference play as well."

The backcourt duo of senior captain Yoyo Greenfield and sophomore sensation Megan Vasquez headline the seven returning letterwinners for the Bulldogs. Vasquez, a unanimous pick for the Ivy League All-Rookie Team who averaged 11.5 points per game a year ago, was one of just two Ivy freshmen to lead her team in scoring. Greenfield was second on the team in scoring, averaging 9.6 points per game. Mady Gobrecht and Michelle Cashen bolster the front court for the Bulldogs. Gobrecht, a senior forward, averaged 8.6 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, while Cashen, a junior forward who earned a spot on the All-Ivy Second Team in 2009-10, averaged 8.5 points and a team-best 6.9 rebounds per game.

Led by 10 returning letterwinners, including all five starters, Princeton was selected by the panel to repeat as Ivy League champions. The Tigers received 16 of the 17 first-place votes and 135 total points after finishing the 2009-10 season 26-3 overall and 14-0 in Ivy League play. Harvard, which also returns all five starters, was second in the poll, receiving 115 points and the other first-place vote. Dartmouth received 96 points in the poll, just 12 points ahead of the 84 received by the Bulldogs.

Columbia (73 points), Brown (50), Cornell (39) and Penn (19) round out the final four places in the preseason poll.

The 2010-11 season will commence on Friday, Nov. 12, when Yale visits the Worcester, Mass., campus of Holy Cross for a 7 p.m. contest. The Ivy League slate kicks off on Friday, Jan. 14, when Yale will play host to Brown for a 7 p.m. game inside the friendly confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity