Bulldogs to Close Out Regular Season Against Ivy League Elite

Bulldogs to Close Out Regular Season Against Ivy League Elite

March 4, 2009

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women's basketball team closes out the 2008-09 schedule by heading north to meet Ivy League frontrunners Dartmouth (15-10, 10-1 Ivy) and Harvard (17-8, 9-2 Ivy). The Bulldogs, who dropped close decisions to both Big Green and the Crimson in New Haven earlier this season, enter the season's final weekend at 11-15 overall and 4-8 in Ivy League play.

After dropping three consecutive road contests, Yale returned to the John J. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven and promptly snapped its three-game skid with a 61-51 victory over Penn. Eight different Bulldogs netted a field goal in the win, led by sophomores Mady Gobrecht and Yoyo Greenfield with 14 points each. The Bulldogs couldn't complete the weekend sweep, however, as Princeton held off a late Yale charge to escape the Elm City with a 61-53 win on Senior Night. Junior forward Melissa Colborne scored a team-best 16 points for Yale, while Greenfield reached double figures once again with 13.

Junior forward Melissa Colborne leads Yale this season with 15.9 points per contest. She also leads the way in field goal percentage (.446) and free throw percentage (.816). Senior captain Jamie Van Horne heads the Bulldogs' efforts from beyond the arc with 2.3 three-pointers made per game and has also been the most efficient shooter from downtown at 60-for-165 (.364). Sophomore forward Mady Gobrecht leads all active players on the squad with 7.4 rebounds per contest and has swatted a team-best (among active players) 0.8 blocked shots per game. She also leads the way in offensive rebounds (2.5 per game), assists (3.3) and steals (1.8). The Bulldogs recently announced that junior forward Haywood Wright, who is averaging 9.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and an Ivy League-leading 1.6 blocked shots per game, will miss the remainder of the season due to injury.

With a 4-8 mark in league play, the Bulldogs are officially eliminated from the Ivy League Title picture. However, Yale looks to factor heavily into the race for the Ancient Eight crown this weekend. Should Dartmouth and Harvard both knock off Ivy League cellar dweller Brown (1-11 in league play), a win by the Bulldogs over either Big Green or the Crimson would cause a major shake-up atop the standings. Dartmouth and Harvard, the only two teams left in the title hunt, will meet in Hanover on March 10 in a contest that could decide the league champion. With a weekend sweep, the Bulldogs could finish as high as fourth.

Junior forwards Melissa Colborne (Nov. 24) and Haywood Wright (Dec. 22) each earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors earlier this season. Additionally, freshman forward Michelle Cashen (Dec. 29) took home an Ivy League Rookie of the Week laurel during the non-conference slate.

Yale was 7-7 in Ivy League last season, its best conference record since the 2001-02 campaign. The Bulldogs swept Brown and Columbia, dropped two decisions to Cornell and Dartmouth and split with Harvard, Penn and Princeton. Forward Melissa Colborne was the lone sophomore to earn first team All-Ivy honors, and just the second Bulldog to do so since 1998, while Lindsey Williams was unanimously selected to the All-Ivy Rookie Team.

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, Harvard has once again been tabbed to win the Ivy in 2008-09. Dartmouth, who along with Harvard and Cornell shared the Ivy title at 11-3 last season, was slotted to place second, while Big Red landed in third place. The Bulldogs are the first team behind the trio of 2007-08 champions in the poll at fourth. The preseason poll is rounded out by Columbia, Penn, Princeton and Brown.

Currently leading the Ivy League with a 10-1 league record (15-10 overall), Dartmouth is led by Ivy League Player of the Year candidate Brittney Smith. The sophomore ranks fifth in the league in scoring and second in rebounding with 13.7 points and 8.2 boards per game. She also rates in the top 10 in field goal percentage, free throw percentage, blocked shots and steals. Senior Koren Schram, one of the most prolific three-point shooters in the Ivy League, is also averaging double-figure points for Big Green with 11.9 per game. As a team, Dartmouth has done it with defense this season. The squad is surrendering just 46.7 points per game in league play, the lowest average in the Ivy by a full eight points. This past weekend, a loss at Cornell on Friday snapped Big Green's 11-game winning streak, but Dartmouth bounced back against Columbia to retain sole possession of first place.

Including this season's meeting in New Haven, Big Green holds a 48-15 lead in the all-time series, which dates back to the sixth varsity game in Yale women's basketball history (Feb. 16, 1974). Dartmouth has won four straight meetings overall, as well as the last four encounters in the Granite State.

The Bulldogs trailed by as many as 17 points before storming back to within four points with 3:04 remaining, but ultimately fell to Big Green in a defensive struggle at the John J. Lee Amphitheater on Feb 7 by a score of 51-42. Sophomore Mady Gobrecht led Yale with 11 points, while junior Haywood Wright notched 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Dartmouth's Brittney Smith scored a game-high 16 points. Margaret Smith and Koren Schram both reached double figures with 10 points apiece for Big Green.

Harvard, who will host Brown on Friday before meeting the Bulldogs, enters the weekend at 17-8 overall and 9-2 in Ivy League play. The Crimson has boasted the most explosive offense in the Ancient Eight, pouring in a league-best 68.5 points in Ivy League contests. The attack is led by a trio of players averaging double-figure points: Emma Markley (14.2 ppg), Emily Tay (11.9) and Brogan Berry (11.7). Markley also leads Harvard on the boards with 7.4 rebounds per game. Tay and Berry swept the Ivy League awards this past weekend, claiming Player and Rookie of the Week honors after the Crimson's sweep at Columbia and Cornell.

Harvard holds a 39-27 lead in the all-time series with the Bulldogs, dating back to a 42-27 Yale win over Radcliffe on Dec. 7, 1974 in the Ivy League Tournament. Yale defeated Harvard in the final weekend on league play last season to deny the Crimson the outright Ivy League title, and could find itself in a similar position this Saturday.

The Bulldogs sat within one point of the Crimson with under 3:30 left to play on Feb. 6, but the visitors hit their free throws down the stretch to escape the Elm City with a 70-63 victory. Sophomore Mady Gobrecht (16 points), junior Melissa Colborne (14), sophomore Yoyo Greenfield (14) and senior captain Jamie Van Horne (11) all reached double figures in scoring. Harvard's Emily Tay led all players with 19 points.

With three three-pointers this past weekend, senior guard Jamie Van Horne has knocked down 214 career treys. The all-time leader in three-point field goals at Yale is the fifth player in Ivy League history to eclipse 200 career three-pointers. Van Horne, who is shooting 60-for-165 (.364) from beyond the arc in 2008-09, sank 59 triples in 2007-08, the third-highest single-season total in Yale history. She is the only Bulldog to appear four times in the single-season top 10. The single-season mark at Yale belongs to Maria Smear `03, who sank 62 treys in the 2000-01 season. Van Horne is currently on pace to surpass Smear's record, needing three three-pointers in her final two games to do so.

10 of the Bulldogs' 26 contests this season have been tied within the final three minutes of the second half. Additionally, 17 of their 26 games have been decided by fewer than 10 points, including half of their 12 Ivy League contests.

Once again in 2008-09, Bulldogs' fans can watch home games from the John J. Lee Amphitheater live and free of charge via the Yale All*Access package. All Yale All*Access content will also be archived on yalebulldogs.com. The webcasts include audio commentary by WYBC, Yale's student radio station. To access the feed, 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. Since it is airing live on the YES Network, the Feb. 6 contest against Harvard will not be a part of the Yale All*Access package.

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 of 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 in the Pacific Time Zone 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), junior forward Haywood Wright (Irvine) and sophomore guard Yoyo Greenfield (Los Angeles) all hail from California.

The Bulldogs have been one of the top free throw shooting teams in the Ivy League this season at 394-for-542 (.727), slotting them at 53rd in all of Division I from the line. Junior forward Melissa Colborne, a career .776 free throw shooter, has drilled 151 of her 185 attempts (.816) from the charity stripe in 2008-09. She holds the career record for made free throws at Yale with 408, and is 15 free throw attempts shy of the career record in that category. Colborne rates second in the Ivy League in free throw percentage, with the most attempts of all players in the top 10. 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. Sophomore guard Yoyo Greenfield ranks fourth in the Ancient Eight, shooting 84-for-106 (.792) on free throw attempts this season.

After dropping a 64-62 decision to Brown on Jan. 16, the Bulldogs traveled to Providence on Jan. 23 to wrap up the home-and-home season 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 and is the largest in an Ivy League game this season.

• Minnesota (L, 87-63), UC Irvine (W, 75-66), UC Riverside (L, 72-65), NJIT (W, 74-66) and Bryant (W, 77-71) were all first-time 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 Division I NCAA Tournament. Ivy League foe Cornell also went to the Big Dance in 2007-08. Additionally, Division I newcomer Bryant (W, 77-71) competed in the Division II NCAA Tournament last season.
• Yale's 14 non-conference games featured 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).

Though there are 32 American universities with the "Bulldogs" mascot, the Jan. 13 win over Bryant marked just the second time that Yale women's basketball had met another team sporting the "Bulldogs" moniker. The Yale Bulldogs dropped a 69-48 decision to the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Nov. 29, 2003 as a part of the Seattle Times Classic.

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 combo 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).

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity