Villanova Uses 16-2 Second-Half Run To Power Past Bulldogs
BRONX, N.Y. — The Fordham Holiday Classic could have been a springboard into the Ivy League season for the Yale Women's Basketball team. Fordham and Villanova had other plans.
After losing to Fordham as a result of a disappointing effort in the opening game of the fourth-annual Classic on Wednesday, Yale came out strong in the opening half of its second Classic game against Villanova. The second half, however, provided a different story.
Villanova used a 16-2 second-half run over an 8:12 span to pull away from Yale and earn a 57-44 win in the final game of the four-game tournament.
The Wildcats (7-6) were the only team out of the four participants to win both of their games. Fordham, which beat Yale on Wednesday, lost to Sienna earlier on Thursday.
Sophomore guard Megan Vasquez scored nine of her team-high 12 points to help Yale take a 27-21 lead at halftime. Yale outrebounded Villanova 36-27 for the game, and a dominating 25-12 in the opening half to gain control of the game early on. Villanova's Lindsay Kimmel scored nine of her 15 points in the opening half to keep Villanova close early on.
Yale's defensive effort in the first half also proved to be a catalyst in gaining the early advantage, holding Villanova to 8-for-28 shooting (28.6 percent) and a paltry 1-for-13 from three-point range over the first 20 minutes.
But Villanova's sophomore forward Laura Sweeney, who was held scoreless in the first half, woke out of her slumber after the halftime break to jumpstart the Wildcat offense. Sweeney scored all 15 of her points in the second half, including nine points in the final 6:46 to help Villanova hold off Yale down the stretch. And in similar fashion to Wednesday's game against Fordham, once the second-half run started gaining steam, Yale could not find a way to stop it.
"We're just not handling the fatigue we feel in the second half at all," said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "Inevitably, we end up with breakdowns that are related to us being fatigued. We just can't afford that against a Big East team like Villanova. Sweeney is an excellent player and they totally went to her down the stretch and we had a tough time."
"Obviously, it was a better effort, but I don't think we played very well. I think after getting such a poor effort Wednesday against Fordham, I was happy to see us give a good effort," Coach Gobrecht said. "We just have to get our game back together. The holiday break just seemed to take something out of us. We are not playing like ourselves right now. We only have two games left to get this stuff cleaned up before Ivy play begins."
Mady Gobrecht, who had 13 points against Fordham on Wednesday, earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team for her efforts. The other four selections were Kimmel and Sweeney from Villanova, Fordham's Kyara Weekes, and Sienna's Serena Moore.
"She gave a solid effort both nights, so she deserves it from our team," Coach Gobrecht said. "I do think that she had the most consistent tournament play for us over the two games."
Yale returns home to play host to Bucknell on Sunday at 2 p.m. Only Bucknell and Army (Jan. 9) remain on the non-conference portion of the schedule before Ivy League play begins on Jan. 14 at home against Brown.
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity