Graf's 16 Points, 8 Rebounds Not Enough to Help Bulldogs Rally to Victory
HAMDEN, Conn. — The Yale University women's basketball team was hoping to head into the holiday break on a winning note that would carry it into a highly anticipated showdown with Florida State. Quinnipiac had other ideas.
Felicia Barron tallied 24 points, five rebounds and five steals, while Brittany McQuain added 13 points and 13 rebounds, to lead Quinnipiac to a 68-63 victory over Yale at TD Bank Sports Center Tuesday night.
Janna Graf scored 15 of her 16 points in the first half and had a career-high four steals, all in the first half, to lead Yale (5-5). Senior captain Michelle Cashen had 11 points, four rebounds and three steals.
"If I were a casual observer, I would say they wanted it more than we did, said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "I think this game means a lot to Quinnipiac and it shows in how they go after it. I thought we had a really dead spot in the second half."
Yale led 34-32 at halftime behind Graf's 4-for-8 shooting, 3-for-6 from 3-point range, in the opening half and a strong defensive effort from the entire squad. The Bulldogs forced 16 first-half turnovers and forced the Bobcats into early foul trouble that translated into nine points on 11 free throws for the Bulldogs.
But the story was far different in the second half. Midway through the second half, Quinnipiac (7-3) finally found a way to break Yale's defense. Once that happened, the Bobcats quickly pulled away.
With the score tied 44-44 with 11:15 left, Quinnipiac opened up a 13-point lead thanks to a 17-4 run over a 7:04 span, using a 3-pointer from Barron with 4:09 left to take a 61-48 lead.
Yale picked up the defensive intensity over the closing minutes, which fueled a 15-5 run that cut the deficit to 66-63 with 4 seconds left, but Jasmine Martin sank a pair of free throws with 2 seconds on the clock to secure the win for Quinnipiac.
"We are capable of playing defense like the way we did in the last four minutes all the time. If we had done that the entire half, we would have been the team with the 13-point lead. I don't know why we chose to go so flat defensively," Gobrecht said.
Quinnipiac dominated the boards, outrebounding Yale 56-36 in the game, 30-17 in the second half alone.
"The game was decided on the boards. If there was any singular statistic in the game that was hugely important, I thought that was it," Gobrecht said. "We can still make up for that with our defense through the turnovers that we create. If we don't create the turnovers, we are really in a deficit on the possession issue."
Yale has a week to recover before flying down to Tallahassee, Fla., to take on Florida State in a rematch of last year's historic game. Yale upset then-No. 14 Florida State, 91-85, on Dec. 18, 2010, to earn the program's first-ever win over a nationally ranked opponent. The rematch is scheduled for Dec. 28 at Florida State at 7 p.m.
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity