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Yale Falls To In-State Rival Sacred Heart

Mady Gobrecht. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Mady Gobrecht. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Gobrecht Matches Career-High 18 Points In Loss To Pioneers

NEW HAVEN, CONN. — Holding a six-point halftime lead, the Yale University women's basketball team watched in-state rival Sacred Heart turn things around early in the second half, and despite the Bulldogs' efforts to keep pace, it was not enough to turn away the Pioneers.

Callan Taylor scored a game-high 20 points to pace Sacred Heart to a 70-69 victory at John J. Lee Amphitheater Wednesday night. It was the 10th straight victory over the Bulldogs for the Pioneers, who now hold an 11-3 advantage in the series.

Alisa Apo added 17 points and six assists to help lead the Pioneers (4-4). Evans added 14 points and 10 rebounds.

The Bulldogs (1-7, 0-0 Ivy League), trailed 22-17 with 10:06 left in the opening half and rallied with an 18-6 run over the next 8:23 to pull ahead 35-28 with 1:43 remaining in the half. Mady Gobrecht scored 13 of her team-high 18 points on 4-of-4 shooting and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line to pace the Yale rally. The 18 points matched a career-high for Gobrecht, which she set last season. She finished the game shooting 6-of-7 from the floor and 6-of-8 from the free-throw line.

The Pioneers charged out of the locker room and regained control quickly after scoring the first four points of the half en route to a 12-5 run that gave Sacred Heart its first lead since the 6:08 mark of the first half.

"We have to learn how to get our energy and intensity back up when we come out of the locker room for the second half," said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "We did not defend as well in the second half as we did in the first half and they have two very good players in Taylor and Apo and those kids really stepped up for them. We knew those were the kids that were going to take the shots and we didn't get it done on them defensively. That is a very veteran team. It is a team that just beat Auburn. It is a good basketball team."

The two teams battled back and forth the rest of the way, with Sacred Heart jumping ahead by six points on three occasions down the stretch only to watch Yale rally back. The final six-point Sacred Heart lead came thanks to five consecutive points from Taylor, who buried a 3-pointer and followed with a layup to give the Pioneers a 68-62 lead with 2:10 remaining.

Yale cut that deficit to 68-66 on an Aarica West jumper and a pair of free-throws from Allie Messimer, which allowed the Bulldogs to put themselves in position to tie the score on the final possession. However, a steal by Apo with five seconds remaining forced Yale to foul to stop the clock, and a pair of free throws from Kiley Evans secured the victory for Sacred Heart.

Megan Vasquez drilled a long 3-pointer at the buzzer, but that shot was only enough to cut the deficit to the final score of 70-69.

"Everybody is frustrated. We have been in every single game," Gobrecht said. "We have dealt with so many different kids being out. We still didn't have our starting guard tonight. We know we are going to break through. We are going to be fine when it does. We just have to keep focusing on getting better because we are just so close. We know we are really close. We just have to keep plugging away."

Vasquez, in her first game back after missing the previous two with a mild concussion, recorded 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists to help pace the Bulldogs. Michelle Cashen added nine points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Messimer chipped in with nine points and six rebounds.

Senior captain Yoyo Greenfield missed her third straight game due to the mild concussion she suffered in practice last week. Ericka von Kaeppler, who missed Monday's game against Fairleigh Dickinson because of a mild concussion, returned tonight and played four minutes but drilled a key 3-pointer to help the Bulldogs keep pace late in the second half.

"We have yet to play a game when our entire team has been there," Gobrecht said. "We just have to weather this and get through it and not let it get us too down while we are getting there. It's just very frustrating because we wanted the win. We feel like we should have won the game and didn't get it done."

Yale will take a 10-day break for final exams before returning on Saturday, Dec., 18, when it will play host to ACC power Florida State at 7 p.m.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity