December 29, 2010

Yale Opens Holiday Classic With Loss To Fordham

Rams Use 18-0 Second-Half Run To Pull Away From Bulldogs

BRONX, N.Y. — The Christmas holiday break came at an inopportune time for the Yale University women's basketball team. Following a pair of stellar performances against Florida State and Quinnipiac, the Bulldogs took a nine-day break for the holidays, a break that was extended a day when Sunday's blizzard forced a one-day postponement of the Fordham Holiday Classic. The momentum gained from those two wins did not return with the Bulldogs from the holiday break.

Leading 24-23 at halftime, Yale watched as Fordham used an 18-0 run over a 5:20 span early in the second half and cruised the rest of the way to a 62-44 victory Wednesday afternoon in the opening game of the fourth-annual Fordham Holiday Classic.

Yale (3-8) scored the first basket of the second half when sophomore guard Megan Vasquez drove the lane on a fast break for a layup for her first points of the game. But from there it was all Fordham (7-7), and mostly senior forward Tiffany Stokes, who scored all nine of her points in the second half, including seven in the 18-0 run. When the run was over, Fordham led 41-26.

Sophomore guard Allie Messimer's layup at 12:48 stopped the Fordham run, but Yale would get no closer than that the rest of the way.

"We weren't playing well in the first half either, but neither were they. But then they turned their game around and we didn't," said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "We still acted like we were on Christmas vacation. I just thought it was a very, very poor effort on our part. It was probably our worst effort of the season."

After the two impressive victories prior to the Christmas break over Florida State and Quinnipiac, the effort on Wednesday was surprising to Gobrecht.

"That's why this is so disappointing," she said. "I didn't think we battled. I didn't think we fought for it. I just thought it wasn't that important for us, like we were all still on vacation. It was very disappointing."

The Fordham run over the 5:20 span was not the only offensive drought for Yale, but it was the most glaring due to the success of the Rams' offensive efforts during that stretch. In the first half, the Bulldogs suffered through a 5:58 span without scoring a field goal midway through the first half and then made only one field goal over the final 5:23 of the half.

In the second half, while the Fordham run lasted 5:20, the Yale drought lasted 6:41 after the Vasquez layup until Messimer's layup. After Messimer stopped the run, Yale looked to get back on track by scoring four field goals over the next 2:43, but another dry spell, this time lasting 4:42, ultimately cost the Bulldogs any chance of coming back.

Senior forward Mady Gobrecht scored 13 points to lead the Bulldogs on the scoreboard. Freshman forward Janna Graf had 12 points, while Michelle Cashen added eight points and seven rebounds before fouling out with 5:05 remaining.

For Fordham, Kyara Weekes scored nine of her 16 points in the first half to help the Rams keep pace with the Bulldogs in the opening frame. She also had nine rebounds. Becky Peters scored 10 of her 12 points in the second half. On top of her nine points, Stokes pulled down 13 rebounds and blocked three shots.

The Rams shot a sizzling 14-23 (60.9 percent) in the second half and were 22-for-51 (43.1 percent) for the game. Yale, however, made nine field goals in each half, shooting 9-for-31 (29.0 percent) in the first half and 9-for-30 (30.0 percent) in the second. For the game, the Bulldogs were 1-for-16 from 3-point range and just 7-for-16 from the free-throw line. The Rams outrebounded the Bulldogs 43-38, including 23-11 in the second half.

Yale closes out the Fordham Holiday Classic against Big East-power Villanova at 3 p.m. on Thursday before heading home to play host to Bucknell on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity

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