The Yale women's basketball team returns home to close out the first round of Ivy League play with an aim to return to its winning ways following a loss at Columbia on Feb. 5. The Bulldogs are 5-1 in their last six games in John J. Lee Amphitheater and hope to improve on that mark when they play host to Harvard, unbeaten in Ivy play, on Friday, and Dartmouth on Saturday. Tip-off for both games is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday's game against Dartmouth will cap off the daylong WBCA Pink Zone event hosted by Yale Athletics inside Payne Whitney Gymnasium.
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.
Harvard comes into the weekend riding a seven-game winning streak that includes a home win over defending Ivy League champion Princeton last weekend, which snapped Princeton's 22-game conference winning streak, the third-longest conference winning streak in the country behind UConn and Stanford. Harvard is currently in first place in the Ivy League with an unbeaten 5-0 record in league play. While the Crimson is 7-1 at home and 1-0 at a neutral site this season, it is just 5-5 on the road, with road losses coming against common opponent Holy Cross, at Navy, at Dayton, at Florida and its last road loss at Boston College on Jan. 6. The Crimson has since won its last three road contests.
In a series that dates back to 1974-75, the two rivals will meet for the 69th time on Friday. Harvard leads the all-time series by a 41-27 margin, including a sweep of the season series in 2009-10. The Crimson has won the last four meetings, six of the last seven, and 18 of the last 22. Yale's last win over Harvard came on March 8, 2008, in New Haven. Yale is 2-8 against Harvard during Chris Gobrecht's tenure as head coach.
The Crimson lead the Ivy League in scoring at 74.2 ppg., which also ranks 26th in the nation. The Crimson features four double-figure scorers. Junior guard Brogan Berry is second in the Ivy League at 14.4 ppg., sophomore guard Victoria Lippert is third (13.6 ppg.), senior forward Emma Markley is sixth (13.1 ppg.) and freshman guard Christine Clark is 10th (11.6 ppg.).
Last Meeting At Yale
Yale's Senior Night celebration was spoiled by the visiting Crimson on Feb. 27, 2010, in a 68-60 loss. Harvard entered the halftime break leading 45-26, but Yale stormed back in the second half, outscoring the Crimson 34-23, but it wasn't enough to complete the rally. Melissa Colborne scored 14 points to lead the Bulldogs, while Megan Vasquez has 11 points and Yoyo Greenfield added 10. Victoria Lippert tallied 16 points and 11 rebounds to pace the Crimson, while Brogan Berry added 13 points.
After snapping Princeton's Ivy winning streak, Harvard had to take on Penn, the Ivy League's top defensive team. However, the contest proved to be anything but a defensive struggle. The two teams maintained a steady pace throughout and matched each other in what turned out to be an offensive showcase. Harvard held on for an 88-84 win in double-overtime, just the fourth double-overtime game in the Crimson's history. Harvard is 4-0 all-time when it goes to double overtime, and 36-1 since 2004-05 when it scores 80 or more points in a game.
Back And Better Than Ever
After finishing 20-9 last season and 11-3 in Ivy play, Harvard returns all 12 players from last season, including all five starters. On top of that, the Crimson also gained four freshmen this season, including rookie standout Christine Clark. The two-time Ivy Rookie of the Week has started all 19 games for the Crimson.
Dartmouth started its season with four straight losses and only three wins in its first 12 games. The Big Green has lost five of their last six games, a streak that started with four straight road losses. The Big Green is just 1-9 on the road, with the only road win coming at Bryant, 75-72 in overtime, on Nov. 28. Dartmouth picked up its first Ivy League win of the season with a 68-65 victory over Penn on Feb. 4. By beating the Quakers, the Big Green avoided an 0-4 start to an Ivy League slate for the first time in program history. The only 0-3 Ivy starts for the Big Green include this season and the 2002-03 season.
Dartmouth holds a 50-16 edge over the Bulldogs in a series that dates back to Yale's first season as a varsity program in 1973-74. While Dartmouth holds a 9-3 edge in the last 12 meetings, that run includes Yale's sweep of the season series last season. The Bulldogs earned a 70-66 double-overtime win at Dartmouth on Feb. 13, 2010, and a 58-42 win in New Haven on Feb. 26, 2010. The Bulldogs are 3-7 against the Big Green during Chris Gobrecht's tenure as head coach at Yale.
Last Time At Yale
Yale completed just its second sweep of Dartmouth in program history with a 58-42 win on Feb. 26, 2010. Mady Gobrecht and Yoyo Greenfield each had 10 points to lead the Bulldogs, who had seven players score at least five points in a balanced offensive effort. Brittany Smith was the only Dartmouth player in double figures, but she scored a game-high 15 points and pulled down nine rebounds. At the 4:24 mark of the first half, Yale held a dominating 30-8 lead. Dartmouth clamped down on defense in the second half but could not muster enough points to climb back into contention.
Former Teammates Now Opponents
Yale sophomore forward Ericka von Kaeppler and Dartmouth freshman Eve Zelinger were teammates at Castilleja School in Palo Alto, Calif. The pair helped the the Gators advance to the CCS Championships and NorCal quarterfinals two years ago, von Kaeppler's senior season, which was the most successful campaign in school history.
Dartmouth senior forward Brittney Smith and freshman guard Nicola Zimmer were both lost this season to season-ending injuries. Smith injured her knee against Northeastern on Dec. 1, while Zimmer suffered an undisclosed injury at Harvard on Jan. 15. Both were starters for the Big Green prior to their injuries. Smith was averaging a team-high 13.1 ppg.
Breaking Out The Broom
With the 71-59 win at Brown, Yale earned its first sweep of the Bears since the 2007-08 season. Yale opened Ivy play with a 66-54 win at home. Megan Vasquez led all scorers with 18 points and five steals. Mady Gobrecht recorded her second consecutive double-double and third of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Yale has opened Ivy League play with the home-and-home series against Brown in every season since 2002-03.
Ivy League Honor For Vasquez
After scoring 18 points and collecting five steals in the Jan. 21 71-59 win at Brown, sophomore point guard Megan Vasquez was honored by the Ivy League as its Co-Player of the Week. It was her first Player of the Week award. She earned the Rookie of the Week honor three times last year on her way to finishing the year with a spot on the All-Rookie team. It was her first double-digit scoring performance since the Jan. 2 home win over Bucknell in which she scored 16 points.
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, had missed 13 games with her concussion prior to her return to the lineup last weekend, while Vasquez and von Kaeppler both returned to action against Sacred Heart.
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 on Jan. 14, 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. 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 Jan. 14 win over Brown, Yale outrebounded its opponent for just the second time this season (39-35). 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, adding 11 points to 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. 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.
Introducing The Class of 2015
Four players will join the Bulldogs' roster as incoming freshman for the 2011-12 season. On Thursday, Jan. 27, the Bulldogs announced the additions of Sarah Halejian, Hayden Latham, Arrice Bryant and Natasha von Kaeppler. Halejian, a 5-9 guard from Franklin Lakes, N.J., is a two-time North Jersey Player of the Year and entered the season already atop her school's all-time scoring list. Latham, a 5-9 guard from Greenville, S.C., is a two-time South Carolina Coaches Association Women's Sports Player of the Year and a 1,000-point scorer. The two guards are versatile additions that can play multiple positions. Bryant, a 6-2 center from Detroit, brings size and power to the roster along with a soft touch around the basket. She was ranked as the No. 39 center among the nation's recruits for the Class of 2015 by ESPN. Finally, von Kaeppler, a 6-0 forward from Palo Alto, Calif., will join her sister, Ericka, on the roster. Natasha is already her school's all-time leader in rebounds, double-doubles, field-goal percentage and steals.
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, and eight assists. 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 victory over Florida State and tallied 11 points and nine rebounds against Quinnipiac. Vasquez averaged 22.5 points in the two wins.
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. Gobrecht is fifth in the conference with 3.0 apg., while Cashen is sixth 2.9 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 3.7 assists per game and sophomore guard Megan Vasquez is eighth with 2.5 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.
Crimson Takes The Lead
The early battle for top billing in the Ivy League standings went in favor of Harvard (13-6, 5-0) as the Crimson broke Princeton's (15-4, 4-1) 22-game conference win streak with a 73-67 win in Cambridge, Mass. The lone unbeaten squad will now hit the road this week, closing out the first round of Ivy play at Yale (8-12, 4-2) and Brown (5-15, 1-5). The Tigers return to Jadwin Gym for the first time since Jan. 8, where they hold a perfect 7-0 record this season. Columbia (5-15, 4-2) visits Princeton Friday, followed by Cornell (5-15, 2-4) on Saturday. The Lions and Big Red will also travel to face Penn (7-12, 1-4). Dartmouth (5-14, 1-4), which earned its first League win last weekend, is at Brown and Yale.
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 Feb. 5, 22 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 (3). Columbia's Kathleen Barry leads all Ivy League players with six double-doubles. Dartmouth's Brittany Smith had four and Princeton's Niveen Rasheed had three before both suffered season-ending injuries.
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity