Yale Drops Heartbreaking Loss to Brown

Megan Vasquez. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Megan Vasquez. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs' Shooting Struggles Lead to First Ivy League Defeat of Season


NEW HAVEN, Conn. — After securing their first Ivy League win at Brown last week, the Yale University women's basketball team expected a similar outcome in the rematch Friday night. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the Bears were up to the challenge the second time around.

Sophomore Lauren Clarke led all scorers with 15 points and added five rebounds, to help Brown take a 60-55 victory and spoil Yale's Ivy League home opener at John J. Lee Amphitheater.

It was Brown's first win at Yale since a 64-62 win on Jan. 16, 2009, in the first meeting of the 2008-09 season.

From the opening tip, it appeared as if Friday's rematch would once again go in Yale's favor. Freshman guard Sarah Halejian drained a pair of free throws to put Yale (9-7, 1-1) on the board first with 18:37 on the clock, and by the time the game reached the first media timeout, Yale was on top 10-4. That turned out to be Yale's largest lead of the game. However, Brown (10-6, 1-1) made sure that the rest of the game wouldn't go as smoothly for the Bulldogs.

Brown responded with a 9-0 run that quickly turned the tides of the contest and put the Bears on top 13-10. The two teams traded blows throughout the rest of the half, and by the time the dust settled, Brown snuck into the locker room with a 26-24 halftime lead. Yale had two shots to tie the game in the final seconds of the half, but they both fell short.

The first 16 minutes of the second half followed a similar script, with neither team able to take complete control of the game.

When junior guard Megan Vasquez stepped to the free-throw line with 4:04 left in the game and sank both free throws to put Yale on top 45-44, that turned out to be Yale's final lead of the game.

The Bears scored the next six points over a 1:56 span to seize control and force Yale to try to play catch-up for the remainder of the game. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs couldn't find enough opportunities to get back into the game. Over a 4:30 span, the Bulldogs only managed three field-goal attempts. It wasn't until Yale was committing fouls to slow the game down that the shots started to come, but by then, it was too late to make much of a dent because Brown was making the most of its opportunities on the free-throw line.

Yale's best opportunity to regain some momentum came when it was trailing 54-50 in the final minute, but the Bulldogs missed the opportunity when sophomore Janna Graf's 3-point attempt rattled in and out of the basket with 49 seconds left on the clock. That forced the Bulldogs to foul every time Brown gained possession to slow the clock and Brown took advantage. The Bears went 6-for-6 from the line in the final 28 seconds to secure their first Ivy League win.

Vasquez led Yale with 14 points, while senior captain Michelle Cashen scored 13 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out five assists. She scored 11 of her points in the second half to help the Bulldogs stay within striking distance. Halejian scored 10 of her 13 points in the first half.

However, the Bulldogs made only 19 of their 52 shots (36.5 percent) and they were just 5-for-18 from 3-point range (27.8 percent).

"We didn't hit open looks, and when you don't hit open looks, you can't shake them loose," Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "They just kept daring us to shoot it and we kept missing. And I thought we waited to long to attack on offense, and no matter how much we talked about it, we waited too long to attack. Janna's got to knock some shots down. She can't be that wide open and not hit something. She wasn't the only one. Megan didn't hit her shots and Allie didn't hit her shots. We don't have enough of a post presence that we can have our shooters be that cold. It was just a real poor shooting night for us. It was just a bad night all the way around for us, and Brown took advantage."

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity