The Yale women's basketball team tips off the Ivy League portion of its 2010-11 schedule today against the visitors of Brown. The Bulldogs are coming off of a heartbreaking loss at Army. Both teams enter tonight's contest with identical 4-10 records.Today's game is the first of a home-and-home series. The two teams are off following tonight until they meet up again on Friday, Jan. 21, in Providence. Yale has won three of the last four meetings at home.
Last Time Out
Yale suffered a heartbreaking 63-56 loss at Army thanks in large part to the second-half play of Erin Anthony, who recorded 15 of her 21 points and 11 of her 14 rebounds in the half to lead Army to the win. Yale rallied twice in the second half to pull within two possessions, but could not overtake the Black Knights. Janna Graf led the Bulldogs with 17 points and six rebounds, while Mady Gobrecht added 15 points and nine rebounds.
After starting its season at 2-2, Brown has since lost eight of its last 10 games. The Bears enter tonight's game with an identical 4-10 overall record, which includes identical 2-4 records at home and on the road, with an 0-2 mark at neutral sites. The Bears are led by a trio of underclassmen, including sophomore Sheila Dixon (10.5 ppg.), freshman Lauren Clarke (10.5 ppg.), and junior co-captain Hannah Passafuime (10.2 ppg.). Brown is the third-best defensive team in the Ivy League, holding opponents to just 62.1 points per game, and the Bears force teams to shoot just 37.9 percent from the field. Only Penn (37.1) holds teams to a lower shooting percentage among Ivy League teams.
Last Time Out
Brown jumped out to an 18-4 lead after the opening 11 minutes of the game and led 33-19 at halftime, but NJIT came to life in the second half and rallied for a 63-61 win at Brown on Jan. 6. The Highlanders used an 11-2 run to tie the score at 59-59 with 2:50 remaining. Jessica Gerald hit one of two free throws with 1:13 remaining to give NJIT a 60-59 lead, before Lauren Clarke hit a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left to give Brown a 61-60 lead. Gerald then drove the lane and sank a layup with 2.8 seconds left to lift NJIT to the victory. Junior co-captain Aileen Daniels recorded career-highs in points (20) and rebounds (8), but it wasn't enough to overcome NJIT's second-half rally. Lindsay Nickel scored 11 points, while Sheila Dixon added 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists. It was NJIT's second win over an Ivy League opponent in three tries. The Highlanders also beat Penn, but fell to Harvard.
In a series that dates back to Yale's first season as a varsity program in 1973-74, the two teams have met 70 times prior to Friday's game. Brown owns a 42-28 advantage in the series. However, Yale is 5-5 against Brown under Head Coach Chris Gobrecht, including three wins in the last four games at Yale's John J. Lee Amphitheater.
The Last Meeting
Yale bounced back from a 60-56 loss the week before at Brown with a dominating 67-43 win at Yale. Michelle Cashen came off the bench to lead Yale with 11 points. Yoyo Greenfield also scored 11 points, while Haywood Wright had 10 points and six rebounds. Megan Vasquez added eight points and nine rebounds for the Bulldogs, who had seven players score at least six points in a balanced offensive attack. The Bulldogs held the Bears to 14-for-52 shooting (26.9 percent) and forced the Bears to turn the ball over 25 times.
Brown's Jonathan Parsons, a second-year assistant coach for the Bears, has strong ties to Connecticut. The 2008 graduate of Sacred Heart was a four-year student manager for the men's basketball team while he was a student there. He then served as a volunteer assistant coach at the University of New Haven for a year prior to joining the staff at Brown. He also was an assistant coach for the Connecticut Breeze U-16 AAU program.
Yale On YES
The YES Network's Yale on YES three-sport winter package tips off with today's Ivy League opener between the Yale women's basketball team and Brown. Chris Shearn is the play-by-play announcer, while Cecelia DeMarco, the women's basketball coach at Yale from 1990-99, is the game's color analyst. YES, the broadcast home of major league baseball's New York Yankees, will also feature the Yale men's hockey team, the top-ranked team in the country, when it hosts Ivy League rival Dartmouth at Ingalls Rink on Saturday, Feb. 5. The closing game in the package will feature the Yale-Princeton men's basketball rivalry on Friday, Feb, 18. All three games on YES begin at 7 p.m.
Another Honor For Graf
After leading Yale on the stat sheet in its only game of the week, freshman forward Janna Graf was named the Ivy League's Rookie of the Week for the week of Jan. 10. Graf scored team-high 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting, grabbed six rebounds, and tallied three steals in the loss to Army on Sunday. It is the second time in three weeks that Graf has earned Rookie of the Week honors. Graf has averaged 12.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in the six games since scoring a career-high 22 points against Florida State. For the season, Graf is Yale's fourth-leading scorer (8.5 ppg.) and the team's second-leading rebounder (5.1 rpg.). She has earned the start in Yale's last eight games.
One For The History Books
Yale earned perhaps the biggest victory in its 38-year history on Saturday, Dec. 18, when it stunned Florida State 91-85. At the time, the Seminoles were ranked 15th in the Associated Press Top 25 and 14th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. It is Yale's first-ever win over a ranked opponent. It was just the second win for the Bulldogs 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. Megan Vasquez and Janna Graf each recorded career scoring highs. Vasquez scored 25 points, which was the highest scoring output for a Yale player since Melissa Colborne scored 27 against Cornell on Feb. 20, 2009. Michelle Cashen recorded her first double-double of the season (11 points, 13 rebounds), while Graf tallied the first 20-point effort of her Yale career with 22 points. Aarica West dished out 10 assists, becoming the first Bulldog to record at least 10 since Stephanie Marciano had 10 against Stony Brook on Dec. 7, 2007.
Ending The Streak
The historic win over Florida State halted Yale's seven-game losing streak. It was the longest losing streak during Chris Gobrecht's tenure as Yale's head coach since her first season when the Bulldogs began the 2005-06 season with 10 straight losses. The longest losing streak in Yale's history is 11 straight losses, which was recorded twice in the team's 38 seasons.
Just Around The Corner
The Bulldogs' next opponent is the same as tonight's opponent. Yale and Brown face each other again on Friday, Jan. 21, at the Pizzitola Sports Center in Providence, R.I., at 7 p.m. Yale is 2-3 at Brown during Chris Gobrecht's tenure as Yale's head coach. Yale's last win at Brown came on Jan. 23, 2009, when it dominated the Bears, 71-37, a game in which Melissa Colborne became the 16th 1,000-point scorer in Yale's history.
Yale Sweeps Ivy Awards
After leading Yale to a pair of victories, including its first-ever win over a nationally ranked opponent, Michelle Cashen, Janna Graf and Megan Vasquez were all honored on Dec. 23 by the Ivy League for their efforts. Cashen was named the Ivy Player of the Week and Graf was named the Ivy Rookie of the Week, while Vasquez earned a place on the weekly Honor Roll. It is the first time Yale has swept the Ivy League's weekly awards since senior Erica Davis and freshman Melissa Colborne won the awards on Jan. 2, 2007. Cashen averaged 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game in the two wins. She scored 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the win over then-No. 15/14 Florida State. Against Quinnipiac, Cashen tallied 20 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, falling just two rebounds and two assists shy of recording the first triple-double in Yale's 38-year history. Graf averaged 16.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in the two games. She scored a career-high 22 points and grabbed five rebounds in the win over Florida State. She fell one rebound shy of her first double-double against Quinnipiac, tallying 11 points and nine rebounds. Vasquez averaged 22.5 points in the two wins. She scored a career-high 25 points versus Florida State and 20 points against Quinnipiac.
WBCA Pink Zone
The Bulldogs' Feb. 12 game against Dartmouth will be the main event of Yale's all-day WBCA Pink Zone event. The annual fund-raiser, formerly known as "Think Pink," is dedicated to raising awareness and donations for breast cancer research, with this year's proceeds being donated to the Smilow Cancer Hospital. The festivities, which will take place throughout Payne Whitney Gymnasium, will once again include a "Battle of the Badges" competition featuring the Yale and New Haven police and fire departments. The Yale gymnastics team will host the Bulldog Invitational, while the women's and men's swim teams will compete against Brown.
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, the team's senior captain, has missed the last nine games with her concussion, while Vasquez and von Kaeppler both returned to action against Sacred Heart.
The 20-Point Club
With their efforts against Florida State and Quinnipiac, Megan Vasquez, Michelle Cashen and Janna Graf became one of 15 Ivy League players who have scored at least 20 points in a game this season. Vasquez reached the mark in both games, with a career-high 25 points against Florida State and 20 against Quinnipiac. Graf notched a career-high 22 points against Florida State, while Cashen scored a season-high 20 points against Quinnipiac.
Stealing The Show
With the injury to senior captain Yoyo Greenfield, sophomore guard Aarica West is making the most of her time on the court. She has earned the starts in place of Greenfield in the last eight games. She is making her mark on both ends of the floor. She is leading the team in assists (3.8 apg.) and in steals (1.9 spg.). Following games through Jan. 9, West was second in the Ivy League in assists per game and fifth in steals per game.
Dish And Assist
Normally, the assists category is dominated by the guards, but in the Ivy League, two Yale post players have found their way onto the leaderboard. Junior forward Michelle Cashen and senior forward Mady Gobrecht are among the top 10 in the Ivy League in assists. Cashen is third in the conference with 3.3 apg., while Gobrecht is fourth with 3.2 apg. In fact, Yale players take up four of the first six places on the top 10 list. Sophomore guard Aarica West is second in the league with 3.8 assists per game and sophomore guard Megan Vasquez is tied for ninth with 2.8 apg.
The Fab Four
Yale has bolstered its lineup for 2010-11 with four freshmen that are expected to make an immediate impact. Guard Amanda Tyson, forwards Janna Graf and Alexandra Osborn-Jones, and center Zenab Keita comprise one of the strongest freshman classes during Head Coach Chris Gobrecht's tenure.
Every Day is Mother's Day
Senior forward Mady Gobrecht is the daughter of head coach Chris Gobrecht. They are the only current active mother-daughter, coach-player tandems in Division I women's basketball. This is the sixth time in Yale's 157-year athletic history that a head coach is mentoring his or her child in a varsity sport, and the first where the combo is mother-daughter (men's fencing: Robert & Maurice Grasson, 1936-38; baseball: Smoky Joe & Joseph Wood, 1939-41; men's basketball: Howard & David Hobson, 1952-55; men's squash: John & Jack Skillman, 1954-55; football: Jordan & Harry Olivar, 1957-59).
Seven teams on the Bulldogs' 2010-11 slate participated in the postseason last spring. Florida State and Princeton earned a berth in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Five others participated in the WNIT, including WNIT champion California.
New Year, New Ivy Season
Ivy League play opened last week with Penn and Princeton facing off at Jadwin Gym. The defending Ivy League champion Tigers claimed a 56-45 win, pushing their Ivy League win streak to 20 straight games. The remaining six Ivy squads open League action this week, beginning with Brown traveling to Yale on Friday for a 7 p.m. tip-off. On Saturday, Cornell travels to Columbia (4:30 p.m.) and Dartmouth is at Harvard (7 p.m.). Princeton is off for exams until Jan. 28, while Penn plays a pair of non-league contests. The Quakers dropped a 57-52 decision to Big 5 rival Villanova on Wednesday, but look to bounce back at Virginia on Sunday.
2010-11 Ivy League Preseason Poll
Voted on by a panel of Ivy media and women's basketball sports information directors, Princeton received 16 of 17 first-place votes and 135 points and are expected to repeat as the Ivy League champion.
Predicted Order of Finish (First-Place Votes in Parentheses)
In games played through Jan. 9, 19 Ivy League players have recorded at least one double-double this season. Yale's Megan Vasquez, Michelle Cashen and Mady Gobrecht are all members of the club. Five Ivy players have tallied at least two double-doubles, led by Dartmouth's Brittany Smith (4) and Princeton's Niveen Rasheed (3).
Home Sweet Home
Playing in the friendly confines of their own arena has been advantageous for the Princeton Tigers. Princeton is unbeaten at home this season with a 7-0 record. The Tigers are currently riding a League-best 16-game home winning streak, dating back to a Dec. 12, 2009, win over Lafayette.