The Yale women's basketball team closes out the road slate of its 2010-11 schedule at Dartmouth on Friday and at Harvard on Saturday with an opportunity to reclaim second place in the Ivy League standings. The Bulldogs swept both teams just two weekends ago in New Haven and would need to repeat the sweep to remain in the hunt for the Ivy League title. The Bulldogs have lost nine of the last 13 to the Big Green, but they have taken the last three victories. Yale's win over Harvard two weeks ago was its first since the final game of the 2007-08 season, but the Bulldogs have not won in Cambridge since a 72-61 win on Feb. 17, 2001.
While Dartmouth (7-16, 3-6 Ivy League) is 1-13 in games away from its Hanover, N.H., home, it is 6-3 in games played at Leede Arena, including wins in four of its last five home games. The only home loss in that stretch came against Ivy League leader Princeton. 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 50-17 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 9-4 edge in the last 13 meetings, that run includes three straight Yale wins, including a 66-53 win in New Haven two weeks ago and 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 4-7 against the Big Green during Chris Gobrecht's tenure as head coach at Yale.
Bulldogs Strike First
In the first meeting of the season, Yale opened up a 33-22 halftime lead a cruised to a 66-53 win over Dartmouth on Feb. 12 in New Haven. Megan Vasquez scored a game-high 21 points to power the Bulldogs to the win, which capped Yale's WBCA Pink Zone event. Janna Graf added 15 points and eight rebounds, while Mady Gobrecht tallied eight points and 11 rebounds and Michelle Cashen chipped in with six points and 12 rebounds. Faziah Steen paced the Dartmouth effort with 21 points, while Cassie Cooper added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Last Meeting At Dartmouth
Yale needed two overtimes to earn a 70-66 win at Dartmouth on Feb. 13, 2010. Megan Vasquez scored a team-high 19 points to lead the Bulldogs, while Michelle Cashen had 13 points and nine rebounds. Brittney Smith had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead Dartmouth. Yale led by as many as 10 points on three separate occasions, but Dartmouth outscored Yale 17-9 over the final 6:12 of regulation to force overtime. Yale's only lead in the extra sessions didn't come until Cashen sank a jumper with 47 seconds left in the second OT.
On A Roll
Dartmouth opened a four-game homestand with a sweep of Columbia and Cornell last weekend. It was Dartmouth's first Ivy sweep since the 2008-09 season. Dartmouth held Columbia and Cornell to 51 points apiece, a season-low for Big Green opponents. The Big Green has won four of its last five games at home.
Cleaning The Glass
Dartmouth outrebounded back-to-back opponents for the first time this season in the sweep of Columbia and Cornell. The Big Green has matched or outrebounded opponents in four of the last five games.
Former Teammates Now Opponents
Yale's Ericka von Kaeppler and Dartmouth Eve Zelinger were teammates at Castilleja School in Palo Alto, Calif. The pair helped the Gators advance to the CCS Championships and NorCal quarterfinals two years ago, von Kaeppler's senior season.
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.
Harvard rebounded from being swept at Yale and Brown two weeks ago with a sweep of Cornell and Columbia last weekend. Harvard has won the last six home games against Ivy competition dating back to last season. The last home Ivy loss for the Crimson came against last year's Ivy League champion Princeton on March 6. Harvard (15-8, 7-2 Ivy League) is currently in second place in the Ivy League, just a half-game ahead of the Bulldogs. The Crimson has won the last seven home games. The last home loss came at the hands of Sacred Heart (69-60) on Dec. 22. The Crimson is 7-1 at home this season and 19-2 over the last two seasons.
In a series that dates back to 1974-75, the two rivals will meet for the 70th time on Saturday. Harvard leads the all-time series by a 41-28 margin, including a sweep of the season series in 2009-10. Prior to Yale's win two weeks ago, the Crimson had won the previous four meetings, and 18 of the previous 22. Yale's last win at Harvard came on Feb. 17, 2001, 72-61. Yale is 3-8 against Harvard during Chris Gobrecht's tenure as head coach.
The Crimson lead the Ivy League in scoring at 73.3 ppg., which also ranks 30th in the nation. The Crimson features four double-figure scorers. Junior guard Brogan Berry is second in the Ivy League at 14.2 ppg., sophomore guard Victoria Lippert is fourth (13.5 ppg.), senior forward Emma Markley is sixth (13.1 ppg.) and freshman guard Christine Clark is 9th (12.3 ppg.).
First Meeting This Season
Yale handed Harvard its first Ivy League loss of the season in an 82-71 Bulldogs' victory on Feb. 11. It was Yale's first win over Harvard since the final game of the 2007-08 season, a 64-58 win on March 8, 2008. Janna Graf led all scorers with 21 points to go with seven assists and six rebounds to lead Yale. Megan Vasquez had 13 points and six rebounds, while Mady Gobrecht and Michelle Cashen each added 11 points. Victoria Lippert led the Crimson with 18 points and eight rebounds. Brogan Berry added 16 points, while Emma Markley chipped in with 14.
Last Meeting At Harvard
Despite three players scoring in double figures, Yale couldn't slow down Harvard's offensive effort in an 88-65 loss in Cambridge. Harvard shot a scorching 64.9 percent from the field, including 71.4 percent in the second half. Michelle Cashen scored 14 points to lead the Bulldogs. Yoyo Greenfield and Megan Vasquez each added 11 points. Victoria Lippert scored a game-high 21 points to pace the Crimson. Emma Markley scored 16 points.
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.
Staying In The Race
Yale fell short in its opportunity to take over first place in the Ivy League standings last weekend after suffering a 73-57 loss at Princeton. The Tigers had five scorers in double figures and gained control early on before taking a 47-23 halftime lead. Yale trimmed the deficit to as low as 14 points in the second half, but could not complete the comeback. The Bulldogs salvaged the weekend with a 66-53 win at Penn on Saturday to remain in the Ivy League championship hunt. The Bulldogs are 7-3 in the Ivy standings, a half-game behind Harvard and a game and a half behind Princeton.
More Honors For Graf
After leading Yale to wins over Harvard and Dartmouth two weeks ago, freshman forward Janna Graf was named the Ivy League's Rookie of the Week for the fourth time this season for her efforts. Graf was the catalyst in both wins. She scored a game-high 21 points in Yale's 82-71 win over Harvard on Feb. 11. It was Yale's first win over Harvard since the final game of the 2007-08 season. In the win over Harvard, 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 the half. She also finished with a career-high seven assists. In the 66-53 win over Dartmouth on Feb. 12, Graf scored 15 points, her ninth double-digit performance of the season, scoring 10 of her 15 points in the second half.
Big Win Over Big Green
Yale completed a weekend sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth with a 66-53 win over the Big Green to cap off the WBCA Pink Zone weekend. Vasquez scored a game-high 21 points, while Graf added 15 points and eight rebounds to lift Yale to the victory. Mady Gobrecht added eight points, 11 rebounds and a game-high seven assists to help the Bulldogs improve to 7-1 in their last eight games at home. The weekend sweep left Yale in second place in the Ivy League, a half-game behind Princeton in the Ivy League standings.
Janna Graf scored a game-high 21 points, 12 in the second half, to lead Yale to an 82-71 win over visiting Harvard on Friday, Feb. 4. It was Harvard's first Ivy loss of the season. It was Yale's first win over the Crimson since the final game of the 2007-08 season. The Bulldogs outscored the Crimson 20-7 over the final 8:09 of the first half to claim a 39-19 halftime lead.
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. 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 in 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.
WBCA Pink Zone
The Bulldogs' Feb. 12 game against Dartmouth was 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. While the final tally of the funds raised from the event is still being calculated, it is already considered the most successful Pink Zone weekend since Yale started participating four years ago. 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.
Battle of the Badges Champions
As part of the Pink Zone festivities, the Yale University Athletic Department hosted the annual Battle of the Badges, a bench press fund-raiser to beat breast cancer. The competition consisted of teams of three, with each participant bench-pressing a percentage of his or her body weight. The team with the most total repetitions was declared the winner. There were three divisions in the competition: A Public Safety Division, comprised of teams of police, fire and emergency medical personnel; an Open Division, which featured several teams comprised of football players and other Athletics personnel; and a fraternity and sorority division. The Public Safety Division champion was the team of Dominic Vuolo, Palmer Gaines, and Dawud Amin from the New Haven Fire Department. The Open Division Champion was the team of Mykal Kuslis, Amelia Luciano, and Kate Miller. And finally, the Fraternity and Sorority Champion was the team of Manuel Giner, Adam Hockensmith, and Javier Zapata from the Yale Law School. Congratulations to the champions and all who participated in the competition.
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. Sophomore Alicia Seelaus has missed the last six games with a broken nose.
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.
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.
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. Cashen is fourth in the conference with 3.14 apg., while Gobrecht is seventh with 3.08 apg. In fact, Yale players take up three of the top five places on the top 10 list. Sophomore guard Aarica West is second in the league with 3.6 assists per game.
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 to join the Yale women's basketball team 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.
Race To The Finish
Dartmouth, Harvard and Princeton all went 2-0 at home last week, with the Big Green's sweep representing its first Ivy weekend sweep since 2008-09. The Tigers kept their hold on first place in the Ivy League standings with wins over then-second place Yale and Brown. Princeton hits the road to face Cornell and Columbia. Second-place Harvard hosts Brown and Yale, looking to remain no more than one game back on the Tigers. Should both teams win on Friday, the Crimson's matchup against Yale on Saturday will be key as a Harvard win keeps it in sole possession of second place. Wins by the Bulldogs over Dartmouth and Harvard would put the Bulldogs and the Crimson in a tie for second. Penn seeks to push its Ivy record to over .500 at Columbia and Cornell, while Dartmouth looks to extend its win streak when its hosts Yale and Brown.
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. 12, 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