Yale Completes Sweep at Columbia

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

Secures First Road Sweep of Cornell and Columbia since 1997-98


NEW YORK — The Yale University women's basketball team used a dominant first half Saturday night to accomplish a feat that has not been done by a Bulldogs squad in 15 years.

Four players scored in double figures, leading Yale's balanced scoring attack to a 62-43 win over Columbia inside Levien Gymnasium on the Columbia University campus.

The win gives Yale its first weekend road sweep of Cornell and Columbia since the 1997-98 season when it defeated Cornell, 61-56 in overtime, on Feb. 20, 1998, and Columbia, 72-56, on Feb. 21, 1998.

It is also Yale's first win at Columbia since a 66-59 win on Feb. 1, 2008.

"It was a big win for us. They have had our number, there's no question," said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "It was a very, very good team effort."

With the win, Yale improves to 9-13 overall, 4-4 in Ivy League play, while Columbia falls to 3-18 overall, 1-6 in Ivy League play.

Six players scored all of Yale's points. Senior guard Megan Vasquez and sophomore guard Sarah Halejian both had 12 points, while junior center Zenab Keita and junior guard Janna Graf both added 11 points. Junior forward Alexandra Osborn-Jones and senior captain Allie Messimer both scored eight points. Halejian added seven rebounds and five assists. Keita had nine rebounds, falling one shy of a double-double, while Vasquez dished out six assists.

Miwa Tachibana scored 10 of her 15 points in the first half to lead Columbia. Tyler Simpson scored all 10 of her points in the second half.

Yale scored the game's first eight points and opened with a 14-4 run, but Columbia responded with a short 7-2 run to pull within five points, 16-11, with 13:38 left in the half, but that was as close as the game would get.

Over the next 9:50, Yale used a 20-0 run to blow the game wide open and take a 36-11 lead with 3:48 left in the half. Osborn-Jones scored all eight of her points in the run.

The Lions closed the half with a 6-2 run to trim Yale's lead to 38-17 heading into the halftime break.

Yale shot 16-for-30 (53.3 percent) in the first half, while Columbia was just 7-for-27 (25.9 percent) from the floor. The Bulldogs held a 21-15 rebounding edge in the half and a 22-11 scoring advantage in the paint.

The Bulldogs utilized a balanced scoring attack in the half, with Keita, Osborn-Jones, and Halejian all scoring eight first-half points and Vasquez adding seven more to account for 31 of Yale's 38 points in the half.

"That is about as good of a first half as we have played all year," Gobrecht said. "Everybody was clicking on all cylinders. I told them at the half that one of the hardest things to do is to stay aggressive and yet play a little conservative, and sure enough, we struggled a little bit in the second half."

Columbia scored the first six points of the second half to push its run to 14-2 spanning the halftime break to cut Yale's lead to 38-25. The Lions cut Yale's lead to 40-35 before Vasquez drained a 3-pointer at 10:39 to stop the Lions' run.

"At halftime, we did not think we had it. They never stopped playing hard, no matter what. I give them a lot of credit. They came out in the second half and took it to us and we couldn't hit a shot, but we have seen Columbia do that to other teams this year."

Leading 43-38 with 10:17 left, Yale used a 17-1 run over the next 6:12 capped by back-to-back jumpers by Haleijan to pull ahead 60-39 with 4:05 left, effectively putting the game out of reach for Columbia. Graf and Messimer both had five points in the run.

With her 12 points, Vasquez now has 1,325 career points, which is 11 points behind Katy Grubbs '99 (1,336) for seventh place on Yale's all-time scoring list and 46 points behind Seattle Storm co-owner Lisa Brummel '81 (1,371) for sixth place.

Yale will remain on the road for one more weekend before returning home. The Bulldogs will visit Dartmouth on Friday and Harvard on Saturday in hopes of extending road winning streaks against both teams. Yale has not lost at Dartmouth since March 6, 2009, while it has defeated Harvard in the last two games played in Cambridge, Mass.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity