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Bulldogs to Host Pair of Ivy League Foes

Bulldogs to Host Pair of Ivy League Foes

Jan. 28, 2009

Complete Release in PDF Format

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women's basketball team looks improve its 1-1 Ivy League mark with a pair of Ancient Eight home games against Columbia and Cornell. Fans can watch the action live via Yale All*Access as John Song and Sam Purdy from WYBC, Yale's student radio station, call the action. The Bulldogs are currently 8-8 overall this season.

After dropping a 64-62 decision to Brown on Jan. 16, the Bulldogs traveled to Providence last Friday to wrap up the home-and-home series. Yale turned in its' best defensive performance since 1996, surrendering just 37 points to the Bears in a 71-37 trouncing. The 34-point margin of victory was the largest for the Bulldogs since 1987.

The Columbia Lions, picked to finish fifth in the Ivy League Preseason Coaches' Poll, currently boast a record of 8-8 overall and 1-1 in Ancient Eight play. The Lions are led by sophomore Judie Lomax, one of the nation's leading rebounders with an average of 13.8 boards per contest. Scoring at a clip of 13.6 points per game, Lomax is also the lone Lion averaging more than nine points per game. Katrina Cragg (23-67, .343) is Columbia's most potent threat from behind the arc.

Yale leads the all-time series with Columbia, 36-12, after sweeping the home-and-home series in 2007-08. Junior forward Melissa Colborne averaged 21.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in two games with the Lions last season. Either the Bulldogs or Lions have swept the season series in each of the last four seasons.

One of the tri-champions of the Ivy League last season, the Cornell Big Red were selected to finish third in the Ivy League Preseason Coaches' Poll. Currently 5-9 overall and 1-1 in Ivy League contests, Cornell is led offensively by 12.5 points per game from Shanna Scarselletta. Scarselletta is also the leading rebounder for Big Red with 6.4 boards per contest. Allie Fedorowicz also averages double figures with 10.9 points per game. Fedorowicz (27-85, .318) and Virginia McMunigal (20-56, .357) have been Cornell's best weapons from three-point range this season.

Cornell has won the last three meetings with Yale, though the Bulldogs lead the all-time series, 39-20. Junior forwards Melissa Colborne (15.5 ppg) and Haywood Wright (13.0 ppg) each averaged double-figure points in two meetings with Big Red last season.

Chris Gobrecht, now in her 29th season as a Division I head coach, has amassed a career 457-377 (.548) record, ranking her 27th 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 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 2007-08 Bulldogs posted nine wins, the team's second-highest victory total in the last six seasons.

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."

Yale was 7-7 in Ivy League last season, its best conference record since the 2001-02 campaign. The Bulldogs last above-.500 finish in league play came in the 1997-98 campaign, when the squad finished 8-6. Yale's lone Ivy League Championship came in the 1978-79 season.

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, half of the Bulldogs' 16 contests this season have been deadlocked within the final three minutes of the second half, and 12 of their 16 games have been decided by fewer than 10 points. Yale is 6-6 in those 12 games.

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 38-for-103 (.369) from beyond the arc in 2008-09, has connected on 192 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 teams in the Ivy League this season at 280-for-377 (.743), slotting them at 33rd in all of Division I from the line. Junior forward Melissa Colborne, a career .783 free throw shooter, has drilled 111 of her 129 attempts (.860) 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 are back in action next weekend for Ivy League home games against Harvard and Dartmouth on Feb. 6 and 7. The game with the Crimson will air live on the YES Network at 7 p.m as a part of the Yale on YES package. Yale hosts Big Green the following evening at 6 p.m.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity