The Yale women's basketball team concludes its home-and-home series with Brown with today's visit to Providence to play the second game of the Ivy League portion of its 2010-11 schedule. The Bulldogs staged a second-half rally behind a career-high 26-point effort from freshman Janna Graf to earn a 66-54 win over Brown at Yale on Jan. 14. The Bulldogs are looking for their first win at Brown since the 2008-09 season (Jan. 23, 2009). If they can pull off the win, it will be the first season sweep for either team in the season since Yale pulled off the feat in the 2007-08 season.
Last Time Out
Trailing 25-22 at halftime, Yale charged past Brown in the second half, outscoring the Bears 44-29 in the period, to pull out a 66-54 win. Freshman Janna Graf scored a career-high 26 points, including 10 in a game-changing 18-3 run late in the second half to lead the Bulldogs to the win in the Ivy League opener for both teams. Senior Mady Gobrecht recorded her second double-double of the season and seventh of her career with 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds.
After starting its season at 2-2, Brown has since lost nine of its last 11 games, including the Ivy League opener at Yale. The Bears are now 4-11, 0-1 in the Ivy League, entering tonight's game, which includes a 2-4 record at home. Brown's only two home wins came against Bryant and an upset over Florida. The Bears are led by Sheila Dixon (11.3 ppg., 21 vs. Yale on Jan. 14) and Lauren Clarke (10.5 ppg., 11 vs. Yale). Brown is the third-best defensive team in the Ivy League, holding teams to 62.3 points per game, and the Bears force teams to shoot just 37.9 percent from the field.
In a series that dates back to Yale's first season as a varsity program in 1973-74, the two teams have met 71 times prior to Friday's game. Brown owns a 42-29 advantage in the series. However, Yale is now 6-5 against Brown under Head Coach Chris Gobrecht after last Friday's win at Yale. The Bulldogs are looking for their first win at Brown since the 2008-09 season (Jan. 23, 2009). If they can pull off the win, it will be the first season sweep for either team in the season since Yale pulled off the feat in the 2007-08 season.
Brown freshman point guard Lauren Clarke is already making an impact on the Ivy League leaderboard. She ranks third among league leaders in 3-pointers made. She has made 26 threes in Brown's 15 games this season, an average of 1.7 per game. She is also third in the Ivy League in steals at 2.1 per game and second in minutes played (34.0 mpg.).
Five In The Book
It is a pretty safe assumption that the Brown Starting Five is already set for today's game against Yale. In fact, Bears head coach Jean Marie Burr has stuck with the same five players at tip off in every game this season. Guards Hannah Passafuime, Sheila Dixon and Lauren Clarke, and forwards Aileen Daniels and Lindsay Nickel have started all 15 games for the Bears. All five are averaging at least 8.3 ppg., while only three bench players are averaging more than 1.0 ppg., with the top reserve, Lindsay Steele, at 3.7 ppg.
Dealing With Dixon
Brown sophomore guard Sheila Dixon scored a career-high 21 points against the Bulldogs in last week's meeting. It was her second 20-point effort of the season and the 10th time in 15 games that she scored in double figures. She is also seventh in the conference in rebounding (6.2 rpg.) However, in games in which she is held to less than 10 points, the Bears are just 1-4.
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.
Graf Reaping The Rewards
After scoring a career-high 26 points to power Yale to a 66-54 win over Brown in the Ivy League opener, freshman forward Janna Graf became the first Yale player to win both the Ivy League's Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week honors in the same week since Erica Davis won both awards on Jan. 12, 2004. Graf is the first player in the Ivy League to win both honors since Princeton's Addie Micir earned both awards on Jan. 14, 2008. Against Brown, Graf broke her previous high of 22 points, which she set in Yale's historic win over then-No. 15/14 Florida State on Dec. 18. Although she was 10-for-17 overall against the Bears on Jan. 14, she was a stellar 5-for-7 in the second half, including 4-for-6 from 3-point range, Yale used an 18-3 run late in the second half to break the game open. Graf opened and closed the run with a 3-pointer and scored 10 of Yale's 18 points in the run. The effort gave Graf her first Ivy Player of the Week honor and her third Rookie of the Week award in the last four weeks.
Cleaning The Glass
In the win over Brown, Yale outrebounded its opponent for just the second time this season (39-35). Senior Mady Gobrecht was a big reason for the Bulldogs' big night under the glass. Gobrecht grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds in the victory. She secured her second double-double of the season in the win, scoring 11 points to go with the 14 rebounds. She also blocked four shots.
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 take the week off before starting the Ivy League season in earnest when they play host to Penn (Friday) and Princeton (Saturday). Both games are slated to tip off at 7 p.m. Yale swept Penn last season but suffered the same fate at the hands of Princeton, which finished a perfect 14-0 in Ivy play. Yale last defeated Princeton on the road on Feb. 13, 2009, a 56-54 win behind Melissa Colborne's 17 points.
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 10 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 18 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 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 (3.9 apg.) and in steals (1.7 spg.). Following games through Jan. 16, West was second in the Ivy League in assists per game and seventh 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 fourth in the conference with 3.2 apg., while Gobrecht is fifth with 3.1 apg. In fact, Yale players take up four of the first eight places on the top 10 list. Sophomore guard Aarica West is second in the league with 3.9 assists per game and sophomore guard Megan Vasquez is eighth 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
The first of 14 rounds of Ivy play is now complete, with Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Columbia all winning their 2010-11 Ivy opener on their home courts. The upcoming week features another light schedule of action, including the Ivies' final three non-conference contests along with a pair of League matchups. Penn plays its final two Big 5 games, hosting La Salle on Wednesday at Temple on Saturday. Columbia hosts St. Francis (N.Y.) on Wednesday, looking to pick up its second straight win in it's final non-league game of the season. On Friday, Brown will seek revenge on last week's loss at Yale as the travel partners face off in Rhode Island. On Saturday, Columbia and Cornell also face off for the second straight week. Harvard caps off the week's action with a cross-country venture to face Division I Independent, Seattle University.
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. 16, 20 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. Seven Ivy players have tallied at least two double-doubles, including Gobrecht (2). Dartmouth's Brittany Smith had four and Princeton's Niveen Rasheed had three before both suffered season-ending injuries.
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.
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity