February 14, 2011

Graf Named Ivy League Rookie of the Week

Wins Fourth Rookie of the Week Honor of the 2010-11 Season

 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — After leading the Yale University women's basketball team to its first victory over Harvard since the 2007-08 season, as well as a win over Dartmouth to cap off the annual WBCA Pink Zone weekend, freshman forward Janna Graf has earned recognition from the Ivy League for the fourth time this season for her efforts.

Graf (Mission Wood, Kan./Shawnee Mission E.) was the catalyst in both wins, and she saved her best play for the second half, when it mattered most in both games. In recognition of her play over the weekend, the Ivy League announced Monday that it named Graf its Rookie of the Week. It is the fourth Rookie of the Week honor for Graf this season. She also was named the Player of the Week on Jan. 17, a week that she swept both honors.

Graf scored a game-high 21 points in Yale's 82-71 win over Harvard on Friday. Prior to Friday's game, Harvard was in first place in the Ivy League with an unblemished 5-0 record. It was Yale's first win over Harvard since the final game of the 2007-08 season, a 64-58 victory on March 8, 2008.

In the win over Harvard (13-8, 5-2 Ivy League), Graf recorded 20-plus points for the third time this season. She scored 12 of her game-high 21 points in the second half, going 6-for-8 from the floor in that 20-minute span. She also finished with a career-high seven assists, besting her previous high of two, which she recorded five times this season.

In the 66-53 win over Dartmouth on Saturday, Graf scored 15 points, her ninth double-digit performance of the season. Again, she saved her best for the final 20 minutes, scoring 10 of her 15 points in the second half to help the Bulldogs pull away from the Big Green (5-16, 1-5 Ivy League). She scored seven of those points in the first 4:34 of the half to help Yale open up a 13-point lead that effectively put the game out of reach.

Graf's play in the two victories helped to lift Yale into second place in the Ivy League standings, just a half-game behind Princeton (17-4, 6-1 Ivy League). The two teams will meet in Princeton on Friday with the winner claiming sole possession of first place. Princeton took over the top spot after sweeping Columbia and Cornell and with Harvard losing at Yale Friday and at Brown on Saturday.

Graf's play this season is even more impressive considering that she missed nearly all of the preseason and the first three games of the season due to illness. She made her college debut on Nov. 23, 2010, in Yale's loss at defending WNIT champion California. Her breakout performance came five games later, when she scored a career-high 26 points to lead Yale to a 91-85 win over then-No. 15/14 Florida State on Dec. 18, 2010. It was Yale's first-ever win over a ranked opponent.

For the season, Graf is Yale's third-leading scorer, with an average of 10.0 points per game in the 19 games in which she has played. She has earned the start in Yale's last 16 games. She is also the third-leading rebounder on the team with an average of 4.7 rebounds per game. She is shooting 39.7 percent (73-for-184) from the floor, 30.4 percent (24-for-79) from 3-point range, and 57.1 percent (20-for-35) from the free-throw line.

Yale is off until Friday, Feb. 18, when it visits Princeton at 6 p.m. in a showdown for first place in the Ivy League. The Bulldogs close out the weekend at Penn on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity