National Powerhouses Baylor, Florida State Highlight 2011-12 Schedule
Bulldogs Tip Off Quest For Ivy League Championship Against Holy Cross on Nov. 11
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Yale University women's basketball team released its schedule for the 2011-12 season today, which includes 28 games overall, 12 home games, and five games against teams that competed in postseason play last season, including a pair of games against national powerhouses Baylor and Florida State.
The 39th season in the program's history tips off on Friday, Nov. 11, when Yale will play host to Holy Cross at 7 p.m. in the first of 12 games inside the friendly confines of John J. Lee Amphitheater. It is the fifth time in the last six seasons that the Bulldogs have started their season with a game against the Crusaders. While the Bulldogs have won the last three meetings, all three proved to be exciting starts to each season thanks to close contests that were decided by six points or less.
"I think our Yale women's basketball program turned a key corner last year and we now view ourselves as contenders for the Ivy League championship and a program with high expectations every year," said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "Nothing matters more to us than winning an Ivy League championship, but we also take great pride in representing the league against the likes of Baylor, Florida State, Marist, and Houston, who all played in the NCAA tournament last year. Our non-league schedule is extremely challenging, but so is playing in the Ivy League, so we need to be ready for all of it!"
Gobrecht is entering her seventh season as the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball and her 32nd season overall as a head coach. Fresh off of leading the Bulldogs to their first-ever appearance in the Women's National Invitational Tournament in 2011, Gobrecht enters the 2011-12 season with a 487-416 overall record. The 487 wins places her 30th among active coaches in Division I women's basketball and leaves her just 13 wins shy of 500 career victories.
Reaching that mark will not be an easy task for Gobrecht and the Bulldogs, thanks to the challenging slate of games that lie ahead. Of the 28 games on the 2011-12 schedule, Yale will face five opponents that competed in the NCAA Tournament last season, including a game on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at Baylor, which advanced all the way to the Elite Eight. The Bears are led by junior center Brittney Griner, a national player of the year candidate and the reigning WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year.
The schedule also marks the sixth season among the seven seasons of Gobrecht's tenure at Yale that the Bulldogs will meet an opponent from the Atlantic Coast Conference. For the second straight season, Yale will meet ACC power Florida State in a game scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 28. Last season, the Bulldogs notched perhaps the biggest win in program history when they upset the then-No. 14 Seminoles, 91-85, on Dec. 18, 2010. It was Yale's first victory over a nationally ranked opponent in the program's history.
In what will be a homecoming of sorts for junior guard Allie Messimer, Yale will visit her Houston, Texas, home following the game at Baylor for a Thanksgiving weekend tournament hosted by the University of Houston that will include games against Houston and Texas-Pan American. The tournament will mark just the second game against each opponent in Yale's history.
The non-league portion of the schedule includes opponents from the ACC, the Big 12, Conference USA, America East, the Northeast Conference, the Atlantic 10, the Colonial Athletic Association, the Patriot League, the Great West Conference, and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Yale will begin its quest for its first Ivy League championship since 1979 when it visits Brown on Friday, Jan. 13, 2011, in the first game of a home-and-home set that tips off at 7 p.m. The Bears return the favor when they visit New Haven on Friday, Jan. 20, 2011.
After sweeping Harvard last season for the first time since the 1993-94 season, the Bulldogs will look to repeat that feat beginning with the first of two meetings on Friday, Jan. 27, at Harvard. The Crimson will visit Yale on Saturday, Feb. 18.
Princeton, the two-time defending Ivy League champion, will host Yale on Saturday, Feb. 4. The Bulldogs will entertain the Tigers on March 2 in the final weekend of the regular season. Princeton has won five straight games against Yale entering the 2011-12 season.
The Bulldogs close out the regular season at home against Penn with the hope that the 2011-12 season will extend past that weekend to include a second consecutive postseason berth.
* - Schedule is subject to change. Check YaleBulldogs.com for updates throughout the 2011-12 season.
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity