March 6, 2009
HANOVER, N.H. - When the Yale women's basketball team hosted Dartmouth back on Feb. 7, the Big Green held off a late Bulldogs' charge to escape New Haven with a 51-42 victory. The location may have changed on Friday night, to Leede Arena in Hanover, N.H., but the result was nearly the same as Yale battled back from a double-digit deficit to trail by just three points with 3:45 remaining, only to be edged by Big Green by a final score of 61-51.
With the loss, Yale falls to 11-16 overall and 4-9 in Ivy League play. Big Green moves to 16-10 on the season and holds on to sole possession of the league lead with an 11-1 mark in the Ancient Eight.
"I couldn't be happier with our effort tonight, especially in the second half," said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball at Yale. "We hung tough with an elite Ivy League team tonight, even with a 5'8 player matched up down low with one of the best post players in the league [Dartmouth's Brittney Smith]."
The Bulldogs have played the entire season without 2007-08 Ivy League All-Rookie forward Lindsey Williams. Yale's post presence took another hit when junior forward Haywood Wright, the team's leading rebounder and shot blocker, went down with a season-ending injury at Princeton on Feb. 13.
"The best thing that can come of this is that we have gained a lot of confidence in ourselves at full strength," said Gobrecht. "If we can compete with the top tier right now, we know that we can make a run with Lindsey and Haywood back in the lineup."
Sophomore guard Yoyo Greenfield led the Bulldogs with 15 points, sharing the game-high with Dartmouth's Koren Schram. Junior forward Melissa Colborne joined Greenfield in double figures with 13 points. Mady Gobrecht, Michelle Cashen and Kaitlyn Lillemoe shared the team best in rebounds with five apiece. Brittney Smith netted 14 points for Big Green, while Darcy Rose notched nine points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Big Green put up the first seven points of the contest before a Colborne three put Yale on the board with 17:19 on the clock. Dartmouth raced out to a 16-7 advantage, before a layup by freshman Brianna Segerson sparked an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to a single possession at 18-15. The home team, however, responded with an 11-2 run of its own to close out the first half leading by 10 points, 27-17.
Colborne led Yale with five first-half points. Segerson added four, and four Bulldogs tallied two points apiece to round out the scoring. Dartmouth's Darcy Rose led all players with nine points, and Brittney Smith added eight for Big Green. The home team claimed its advantage with rebounding and defense, outmuscling Yale on the boards by a 19-13 margin, including a 7-3 edge on the offensive glass, and forcing 11 first-half turnovers. The Bulldogs turned in a solid defensive effort in their own right, creating eight Big Green miscues, but could not overcome a 6-for-19 (31.6%) shooting performance in the half, as compared to a 10-for-24 (41.7%) half for Dartmouth.
Yale quickly cut the lead to six, courtesy three-pointers from Greenfield and Segerson, but Schram responded with two treys of her own to push the Big Green lead up to 12 points at 35-23. The Bulldogs refused to let Dartmouth pull away, but could climb no closer themselves, as the deficit remained in double figures until the 11:14 mark, when a second-chance bucket from junior Ashley Carter made the score 39-30. After a Dartmouth free throw, a Colborne layup and a pair of Carter foul shots brought the lead back to six points at 40-34. After four straight points from Big Green's Cassie Cooper brought the lead back up to 10, a trey from senior Jamie Van Horne and a coast-to-coast layup by senior Kaitlyn Lillemoe cut the advantage down to five points with 7:44 left, 44-39. Dartmouth responded with five consecutive points to bring its edge back to double figures, but the Bulldogs bounced back once again as Colborne ran off five straight to make the score 49-44. After a Big Green free throw, Greenfield knocked down her second trey of the half to bring the deficit back to a single possession, 50-47. Just a fast as the Bulldogs stormed back to within three, Dartmouth rallied with the next eight points of the contest to rebuild an 11-point advantage at 58-47 with under one minute to go. The Bulldogs tacked on a few more points, but Big Green hit its free throws in the closing seconds to come away with a 61-51 victory.
The Bulldogs played a much improved second half, committing just three turnovers after the intermission. However, Dartmouth's dominance on the boards continued, as Big Green wrapped up the game with a 40-28 rebounding advantage. Yale shot 16-for-46 (34.8%) from the field, while Dartmouth finished up with a 20-for-47 (42.6%) shooting day.
The Bulldogs will close out the 2008-09 season tomorrow night at Harvard. Tip-off from Cambridge, Mass. against the Crimson, who defeated Brown tonight to stay within a game of Big Green at 10-2 in league play, is scheduled for 6 p.m.
report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity