The Bulldogs play host to Atlantic Coast Conference power Florida State, which is ranked 15th in the nation in the Associated Press Top 25 and 14th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. It is the first-ever meeting between the two teams. Yale opened the season with five of the first six games on the road, but tonight's game represents the third of four straight games inside the friendly confines of John J. Lee Amphitheater.
Last Time Out
Yale held a six-point halftime lead only to see in-state rival Sacred Heart rally in the second half for a 70-69 victory at Yale. Mady Gobrecht matched her career-high with 18 points to lead Yale, while Megan Vasquez returned from injury to add 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the loss. Callan Taylor scored 20 points for Sacred Heart, including five straight points that put the Pioneers ahead for good with 2:10 left. Yale had a chance to tie the score on the final possession, but an Alisa Apo steal with five seconds left secured the win for Sacred Heart.
Home Sweet Home
Yale is playing just its fifth game at home this season tonight when it faces Florida State tonight. The Bulldogs opened the season with five of their first six games away from the friendly confines of John J. Lee Amphitheater. The Bulldogs are playing the third game of a a four-game homestand. The Bulldogs are looking for their second win in 10 attempts against an opponent from the ACC. Yale's first win against the ACC came against North Carolina State University on Nov. 22, 2008, in the first game of the Subway Classic played at the University of Minnesota. The December homestand will conclude against in-state rival Quinnipiac on Dec. 20.
Because of injuries and illness, Yale has yet to play a game this season with its lineup intact. Freshman forward Janna Graf missed the first three games of the season with mononucleosis. Starting guards Yoyo Greenfield and Megan Vasquez, as well as reserve forward Ericka von Kaeppler, all missed time due to concussion symptoms. Freshman forward Alexandra Osborn-Jones also missed time, sitting out the first six games of the season. Greenfield missed the last three games with her concussion, while Vasquez and von Kaeppler both returned to action against Sacred Heart. The Bulldogs are expecting the entire lineup to be available tonight against Florida State.
Just Around The Corner
Florida State is the ninth opponent on Yale's 2010-11 schedule. Following tonight's game, only five opponents remain on the non-conference portion of the schedule. The Bulldogs begin Ivy League play in four weeks when they play host to Brown on Jan. 14 at Yale at 7 p.m.
On The Holiday Horizon
Following this stretch of four consecutive home games, the Bulldogs will depart for the Bronx to take part in the Fordham Holiday Classic, joining the teams from Fordham, Villanova and Sienna. On Dec. 28, Villanova will meet Sienna and Yale will take on the tournament hosts at Rose Hill Gym on the Fordham campus. On Dec. 29, Yale will face Villanova, while Fordham will square off against Sienna. It will be the 16th meeting for Yale against Fordham, which leads the series 10-5. The tournament will also feature Yale's first-ever game against Villanova.
Time To Shine
Due to the injuries to Yoyo Greenfield and Megan Vasquez, the Bulldogs saw a pair of players earn their first starts of their collegiate careers at Providence. Aarica West certainly got her chance to shine. She played a game-high 33 minutes and made almost every one of those minutes count. She collected a career-high seven assists to go along with four points, five rebounds and three steals. Alicia Seelaus also earned the chance to start, playing 16 minutes. The pair of sophomores have played in all seven games this season. West also earned the start against Fairleigh Dickinson and Sacred Heart, while freshman forward Janna Graf earned the first starts of her college career against Fairleigh Dickinson and Sacred Heart. She scored 10 points in 34 minutes in her debut in the starting lineup against FDU and made a shot just after the final buzzer that would have forced overtime.
Dominating The Leaderboard
After leading the Bulldogs in scoring last season as a freshman, sophomore point guard Megan Vasquez is already making her mark on the Ivy League leaderboards. Counting all games through Dec. 12, Vasquez is fourth in the Ivy League in scoring (13.2 points per game), sixth in 3-pointers per game (1.7), and third in assists (3.2 apg). She is also 10th in 3-point shooting percentage (35.7 percent), fifth in free-throw percentage (78.1 percent), and 17th in rebounding (4.8 rpg).
Dish And Assist
Despite missing a pair of games, sophomore guard Megan Vasquez is leading the team in assists, which is third among Ivy League players, but she's not the only Bulldog making her mark with her passing skills. The Bulldogs have four players ranked in the top five among the Ivy League leaders. Junior forward Michelle Cashen is fourth in the Ivy League with 3.1 assists per game, while senior forward Mady Gobrecht and sophomore guard Aarica West are tied for fifth among league leaders with 2.6 per game.
Strength In Numbers
Despite allowing an Ivy League-worst 71.6 points per game through games from Dec. 12, the Bulldogs are still showing some positive signs on the defensive end. They are the top team in the Ivy League in steals with an average of 9.1 per game. They are also second in 3-point defensive shooting percentage, allowing a league-low 27 made threes on just 28.7 percent success. Yale is also second in turnover margin at +1.9 per game. Offensively, the signs are just as positive. The Bulldogs are third in the Ivy League in scoring (61.2 points per game) and third in free-throw percentage (71.2 percent). They are also third in the league in assists (14.1 apg).
Week To Forget
The Bulldogs dropped back to back losses during the first full week of the season, falling at Boston University, 83-64, and at home to Delaware, 79-61. It is the first time Yale has lost back to back games by 18 or more points apiece since the 2007-08 season when it opened the season with a 56-point home loss to Stanford (100-44) on Nov. 9, 2007, and a 46-point loss at Arizona State (84-38) on Nov. 19, 2007. Yale nearly matched the undesirable trend when it lost three Ivy League games in a row in 2008-09, falling at Penn (62-46), at Cornell (80-62) and at Columbia (77-61).
The Bulldogs' West Coast trip gave them a chance to face a pair of foes that they have met only once prior to the 2010-11 season. On Nov. 23, Yale met California for the first time since 1979, in Berkeley, where they fell 64-41. Last month's meeting was the sixth loss for the Bulldogs in six tries against a Pac-10 team. The Bulldogs then headed east to take on UC Davis, where they lost a hard-fought battle against the Aggies, 73-62. For Ericka von Kaeppler, the trip was a chance to play in front of friends and family. She grew up in Palo Alto, which is located just south of Berkeley. Two other Bulldogs also had the opportunity to play in their home state, but still hours away from home. Yoyo Greenfield is a Los Angeles native, while Aarica West is from Buena Park.
Thanksgiving Still A Family Affair
Although the players and coaches were away from their families for the Thanksgiving holiday, they still found a way to make the holiday feast a family affair. Following the Nov. 23 game against California, sophomore forward Ericka von Kaeppler and her family entertained her coaches teammates at their home just outside of Palo Alto, Calif., on the night before Thanksgiving for a home-cooked dinner. They traveled to the campus facility at UC Davis on Thanksgiving morning and staged an early morning practice in preparation for the Nov. 26 game against the Aggies. Following the practice, the players and coaches gathered together for a Thanksgiving feast with each other in the afternoon to celebrate the holiday as a team in Sacramento, a short 20-minute ride away from the UC Davis campus.
Yale was outrebounded in six of the first eight games of the season by a total of 354-275 and by an average of 9.8 rebounds per game. Yale outrebounded two opponents this season — in the 73-62 loss at UC Davis and the 70-69 loss at home to Sacred Heart. Opponents have outshot the Bulldogs in every game. In the eight games so far this season, Yale has allowed opponents to hit 231-496 shots overall, or 46.6 percent from the field, while the Bulldogs have only hit on 176-492 attempts, or 35.8 percent. In three of those games, Yale has allowed the opponent to make 30 or more field-goal attempts. The Bulldogs have also allowed the opponent to shoot 50 percent or better three times. The Bulldogs have led at halftime only twice, including the only victory of the year in the season-opener at Holy Cross.
Scouting Florida State
Florida State has won three straight games, including a 69-51 win over in-state rival Central Florida on Wednesday. The Seminoles won their first seven games of the season, including the championship game of the Junkanoo Jam tournament in the Bahamas, before falling at home to Michigan State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 1 in their only loss of the season. The Seminoles come into tonight's game ranked 15th in the nation in the Associated Press Top 25 and 14th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. The Seminoles have outrebounded every opponent this season and hold a +146 rebounding advantage overall over their opponents. Junior forward Cierra Bravard leads the offense with an average of 14.3 points per game and is also the leading rebounder with 8.3 rebounds per game.
Yale and Florida State are meeting for the first time in their respective histories. Overall, Yale is 1-8 against opponents from the Atlantic Coast Conference, with the only victory coming against North Carolina State University on Nov. 22, 2008, in the first game of the Subway Classic played at the University of Minnesota.
Head Coach Sue Semrau is in her 14th season at Florida State after taking over for Yale Head Coach Chris Gobrecht, who went 5-22 in her only season at Florida State in 1996-97 before moving on to her alma mater at Southern California. Gobrecht took over at Florida State for Marynell Meadors, who is now the head coach of the WNBA's Atlanta Dream.
Move Over UCLA?
If the University of Connecticut can beat Ohio State on Sunday, tying the Division I record of 88 straight wins set by the UCLA men's teams from 1971-74 coached by the legendary John Wooden, then Florida State would be the team that stands in the way of the Huskies breaking the record winning streak when the two teams meet on Tuesday in Hartford. The Huskies have not lost a game since the 2007 NCAA Tournament Regional Finals against LSU (73-50) on March 26, 2007.
Against The Ivy League
Florida State is playing an Ivy League opponent for just the second time in its history. The Seminoles played host to Harvard on Nov. 30, 2003 in the Seminole Classic Tournament and recorded a 96-82 victory. Today's game at Yale is the first time the Seminoles have faced an Ivy League opponent away from their home in Tallahassee.
Against The Ivy League
The Seminoles' starting five of forwards Cierra Bravard and Natasha Howard and guards Alexa Deluzio, Courtney Ward, and Christian Hunnicutt have started all 10 games this season. Bravard (14.3), Howard (12.4) and Deluzio (10.5) are all averaging double figures in points, while all five are averaging no more than 28.6 minutes per game.
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity