Bulldogs Host NJIT In Non-Conference Clash

Bulldogs Host NJIT In Non-Conference Clash

Jan. 8, 2009

Complete Game Notes in PDF Format

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women's basketball team plays the second of four consecutive games at the John J. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven as they host the Division I independent New Jersey Institute of Technology on Friday night. A live video stream will be available on-line via Yale All*Access, and GameTracker will provide live statistics of the contest beginning at 7 p.m. Both features are available free of charge at yalebulldogs.com. The Bulldogs (5-7) enter the contest on a two-game losing streak. Yale lost 72-65 at California, Riverside on Dec. 30 and dropped a 68-35 decision to St. Bonaventure on Jan. 4. Melissa Colborne averaged 17.5 points to lead the Bulldogs offensively in those contests.

In the midst of their third season as a Division I program, the NJIT Highlanders enter tonight's game at 2-10 overall after dropping their fifth straight game at Massachusetts on Wednesday by a score of 63-50. Jessica Gerald leads the Highlanders with 16.6 points per game. Jill Dickinson and Gerald are the biggest threats from three-point range, shooting a combined 42-for-120 (.350) from the beyond the arc. Kehinde Oyelola leads the team under the boards with 6.2 rebounds per contest. Currently an independent, NJIT will be joining the newly expanded Great West Conference beginning in the 2009-10 campaign.

Now in her second season at NJIT, and seventh overall as a collegiate head coach, Margaret McKeon entered the 2008-09 with a career mark of 80-96. She led the Highlanders to a 10-19 record in 2007-08, a six-win improvement from the previous season, and earned a pair of wins in the national Division I Independent Tournament. In five years as head coach at Boston University (1999-2004), McKeon transformed the Terriers from a team with five wins the season before her arrival to one that earned a spot in the NCAA Division I Tournament by her fourth season and fell one game short of repeating as America East Conference Champions the following year. A collegiate star at both St. John's and at Oklahoma, she was all-Big East for the Red Storm, setting a conference single-game assists record that still stands, with 18 against Georgetown on January 16, 1991. She also earned an all-conference honorable mention nod during her stint at Oklahoma.

Tonight will be the first ever meeting between the Bulldogs and Highlanders. Minnesota (L, 87-63), UC Irvine (W, 75-66) and UC Riverside (L, 72-65) were all first-time opponents for the Bulldogs. The Jan. 13 contest with Bryant will also be first-time meeting.

Chris Gobrecht, now in her 29th season as a Division I head coach, has amassed a career 454-376 (.547) record, ranking her 31st among active coaches in career victories. The ninth coach in the 36-year history of Yale women's basketball, Gobrecht has more career victories than any other active basketball coach (men's or women's) in the Ivy League. In her tenure at Yale, she has he has coached an Ivy League Rookie of the Year (Melissa Colborne, 2006-07) and two first team All-Ivy players (Colborne, 2007-08 and Erica Davis, 2006-07). Prior to Gobrecht's arrival in the Elm City, a Bulldog player had not earned first team accolades since the 1997-98 campaign. Last season, Gobrecht led the Bulldogs to a 7-7 record in the Ivy League, their best conference record since 2001-02. Despite a non-conference schedule that included eventual National Finalist Stanford, as well as NCAA Tournament participants Arizona State and Marist, the Bulldogs posted nine wins, the team's second-highest victory total in the last six seasons.

After piling up 517 career head coaching victories at St. Francis (N.Y.) and Fairfield, Yale Assistant Coach Dianne Nolan was recently one of 14 inductees enshrined into the Camden County (N.J.) Sports Hall of Fame. Nolan's ties to Camden County athletics begin at Gloucester Catholic High School. A 1969 graduate of the school, Nolan was a three-sport athlete. She played basketball under the coaching of her mother, Bert Nolan, a fellow Camden County Sports Hall of Famer. Nolan was recognized five times as the MAAC Coach of the Year, taking the honors in 1983, 1984, 1990, 1998 and 2000. She was named the MBWA Coach of the Year in 2001 and earned New England Coach of the Year honors in 1984.

The Yale vs. Harvard women's basketball game on Feb. 6 will be televised live on the YES Network as part of the Yale on YES package this winter. Additionally, the men's games again Princeton on Fri., Feb. 13 and against Columbia on Sat., Feb. 21 will air live on Yale on YES.

"Our team is definitely excited to have our game against Harvard televised, but I also think this is really good for women's basketball," said Coach Gobrecht. "Yale and Harvard represent what intercollegiate athletics should be about and fans of the game will see the kind of intensity, all-out play and team attitudes that make our game popular."

Despite traveling more than 3,000 miles for road contests at UC Irvine and UC Riverside on Dec. 28 and 30, several Bulldogs were right at home in the Golden State. Head Coach Chris Gobrecht is a graduate of the University Southern California. She also coached in California for 13 seasons, patrolling the sidelines at California State-Fullerton from 1979-85 and at Southern California from 1997-04. Gobrecht also spent time on the west coast from 1985-96 as head coach of the Washington Huskies in the Pac-10 Conference. Her daughter, sophomore forward Mady Gobrecht, also lived in California during her mother's stint on the west coast. Additionally, senior guard Jamie Van Horne (Healdsburg, Calif.), junior forward Haywood Wright (Irvine) and sophomore guard Yoyo Greenfield (Los Angeles) all hail from California.

On the heels of her best game in a Yale uniform at the University of California, Irvine on Dec. 28, freshman forward Michelle Cashen earned laurels as the Ivy League Rookie of the Week. Playing in the 10th game of her collegiate career, Cashen's 12 points and eight rebounds both marked career highs. The Belle Harbor, N.Y. native, who tallied eight of her 12 points in the second half, shot 6-for-9 (66.7%) from the floor and also recorded a blocked shot in her 22 minutes of action.

Sophomore forward Mady Gobrecht completed her stat sheet in full in the Dec. 28 with at UC Irvine. The California native flirted with the first triple-double in Yale women's basketball history, tallying eight points on a 4-for-5 shooting day, hauling in a career-best 13 rebounds and dishing out nine assists.

Junior forward Haywood Wright earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors for her performance in the Dec. 21 overtime win against Quinnipiac. Wright scored a career-high 18 points, including two free throws to ice the game, and ripped down a game-high nine rebounds in the Bulldogs' 77-73 overtime win over Quinnipiac on Dec. 21. Wright shot 6-for-9 (66.7%) from the floor, knocked down her lone three-point attempt and shot a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line. She led all players with four blocks and four steals and also dished out two assists in 34 minutes of action. On the season, Wright has been a force on both ends of the court for the Bulldogs. She is averaging 10.3 points per game and rates second in the Ivy League with a team-best 8.0 rebounds per contest. Defensively, Wright leads the Ivy League in blocked shots with 1.5 rejections per game.

Junior forward Melissa Colborne, a first team All-Ivy selection in 2007-08, ranks second among Ivy League players and 45th in the nation with 17.8 points per game so far this season. Most recently, Colborne reached double figures for the 13th consecutive outing with 11 points on Jan. 4 against St. Bonaventure. Colborne averaged 15.7 points per game last season, the second-highest average in the Ivy League.

With a three-pointer with 5:15 remaining the second half against Kentucky on Nov. 28, her fourth of five treys on the day, senior Jamie Van Horne eclipsed Tory Mauseth '05 to become Yale's all-time leader in career three-point field goals. Van Horne, who is shooting 29-for-78 (.372) from beyond the arc in 2008-09, has connected on 183 three-pointers in her career. The captain of the Bulldogs sank 59 triples in 2007-08, the second highest single-season total in Yale history. The single-season mark at Yale belongs to Maria Smear `03, who sank 62 treys in the 2000-01 season.

The Bulldogs have been one of the top free throw shooting team in the Ivy League this season at 222-for-297 (.747), slotting them at second in the Ancient Eight and 27th in all of Division I. Junior forward Melissa Colborne, a career .782 free throw shooter, has drilled 95 of her 109 attempts from the charity stripe in 2008-09. She matched her own Yale record with a 12-for-12 day at the line on Dec. 8 at Stony Brook, and also set the program record for most made free throws in a game with 14 (on 16 attempts) at UC Riverside on Dec. 30. Colborne hit 22 consecutive free throws this season, a streak spanning from the second half on the Nov. 29 win over New Hampshire to the first half of the Dec. 10 contest at Army.

The Bulldogs' 77-73 overtime victory against Quinnipiac on Dec. 21 was their third straight game to be tied in the final two minutes of regulation. In total, seven of the Bulldogs' 12 contests this season have been deadlocked within the final three minutes of the second half, and nine of their 12 games have been decided by fewer than 10 points.

After a 33-day, six-game road stint, Yale finally returned home for an intra-state clash with Quinnipiac on Dec. 21. Yale overcame a 14-point halftime deficit (43-29) to knock off the Bobcats in overtime by a score of 77-73. Junior Melissa Colborne netted a team-high 21 points for the Bulldogs. Junior Haywood Wright added a career-best 18 points and led all players with nine rebounds. Senior Jamie Van Horne, who contributed the game-winning lay-up with one second remaining in the overtime period, was the third Bulldog to reach double figures with 12 points. She also led all players with four assists.

After allowing 87 points in consecutive losses to Minnesota and Kentucky, the Bulldogs stepped up on the defensive end of the floor against New Hampshire Nov. 29 at Long Island University. Yale forced 26 turnovers and surrendered a season-low 55 points to the Wildcats en route to running away with a 76-55 victory. Offensively, sophomore guard Yoyo Greenfield led all scorers and set a new career high with 19 points.

Junior forward Melissa Colborne averaged 19.5 points per game in match-ups with Kentucky and New Hampshire en route to earning a slot on the Courtyard LaGuardia Turkey Classic All-Tournament Team this past week. Colborne and Haywood Wright were named to the Subway Classic All-Tournament team for their efforts against North Carolina State and Minnesota on Nov. 22 and 23. Colborne also claimed Ivy League Player of the Week honors for her performance in the Subway Classic.

Preseason opponents Bucknell (L, 73-70) and Minnesota (L, 87-63) marked two of the three 2008-09 Yale opponents that participated in last season's NCAA Tournament. Ivy League foe Cornell also went to the Big Dance in 2007-08. Additionally, Division I newcomer Bryant, who will visit the Elm City on Jan. 13, played in the Division II NCAA Tournament last season.

For the first time since the 2001-02 campaign, Yale started a season at 1-0 after defeating Holy Cross on Saturday, Nov. 15 by a score of 65-63. Junior forward Melissa Colborne netted 14 points to lead the Bulldogs, while sophomore forward Mady Gobrecht added seven points and a game- and career-high 11 rebounds.

In the Ivy League Preseason Poll, the Bulldogs were selected to repeat their 2007-08 fourth place finish. After winning the Ivy League title outright in 2006-07 and sharing the crown in 2007-08, the Harvard Crimson have once again been tabbed to win the Ivy in 2008-09, as voted on by the media and women's basketball sports information directors of the Ancient Eight. Harvard notched 128 total points and 10 of 17 first place votes Dartmouth, who along with Harvard and Cornell shared the Ivy title at 11-3 last season, was slotted to place second with 117 points and four first place votes. Big Red received the other three first place votes and 94 points overall to land in third place. Cornell will have an upward climb to stay on par with the other 2007-08 co-champions of the Ivy League, as Ivy League Player of the Year Jeomi Maduka has left the program to pursue track and field. The Bulldogs are the first team behind the trio of 2007-08 champions in the poll, garnering 83 points. The preseason poll is rounded out by Columbia (74 points), Penn (52), Princeton (46) and Brown (18).

Once again in 2008-09, Bulldogs' fans can watch every home game from the John J. Lee Amphitheater live and free of charge via the new "Yale All-Access" package. All Yale All-Access content will also be archived on www.yalebulldogs.com. The webcasts include audio commentary by WYBC, Yale's student radio station. To access the feed, simply click on the "Yale All-Access" logo in the upper right corner of the Yale Athletics home page, or the "watch" link on the schedule. Viewers will need to create an account by entering a username and password.

Junior Melissa Colborne led the team and finished second in the Ancient Eight in scoring with 15.7 points per game en route to earning first team All-Ivy laurels. The Calgary, Alberta native also placed fourth in the Ivy League in both field goal percentage (.474) and free throw percentage (.788). Colborne was previously honored as the Ivy League Rookie of the Year as a freshman.

Senior guard Jamie Van Horne has been selected as team captain for the 2008-09 season. Van Horne finished second on the team with 9.1 points per game and fourth with 1.5 assists per contest last season. She placed second in the Ivy League with 59 three-pointers, and sank at least one three-pointer in 20 games, draining at least five treys four times. "I am honored that my teammates have chosen me to be captain," Van Horne said of her position. "I am excited for next year and will work hard to help this team be the best it can be. [2007-08 captain] Stephanie [Marciano] is a hard act to follow in her ability to motivate and lead, but she was a good teacher. This team has a lot of potential, and it will be fun to see how successful we will be."

Yale's 14 non-conference games will feature eight different conferences (America East, Atlantic 10, Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big West, Northeast, Patriot and Southeastern) as well as two independents (New Jersey Institute of Technology and Bryant).

Sophomore forward Mady Gobrecht is the daughter of head coach Chris Gobrecht. They are one of two active mother-daughter, coach-player tandems in Division I women's basketball (Southern Mississippi: Coach Joye Lee-McNelis and Whitney McNelis). This is the sixth time in Yale's 156-year athletic history that a head coach is mentoring his or her child in a varsity sport, and the first where the duo is mother-daughter (men's fencing: Robert & Maurice Grasson, 1936-38; baseball: Smoky Joe & Joseph Wood, 1939-41; men's basketball: Howard & David Hobson, 1952-55; men's squash: John & Jack Skillman, 1954-55; football: Jordan & Harry Olivar, 1957-59).

After playing nine of their first 11 games on the road in 2008-09, the Bulldogs are in the midst of a four-game homestand at the John J. Lee Amphitheater. Yale will wrap up its non-conference schedule at home against Bryant on Jan. 13. The Ivy League slate starts up in the Elm City as the Bulldogs host Brown on Jan. 16.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity