Shootout Goes to North Carolina A&T, 80-79

Ericka von Kaeppler. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Ericka von Kaeppler. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Yale women’s basketball team broke out of its season-long shooting slump, knocking down more than half of its shots from the floor on Saturday against North Carolina A&T at the Holiday Inn & Suites Express Midtown Thanksgiving Tournament hosted by the University of New Mexico. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the Aggies from North Carolina A&T kept pace with them every step of the way, and an offensive rebound and put-back from Lamona Smalley as the final buzzer sounded sank Yale by a final score of 80-79. Senior Melissa Colborne led all players with 17 points, and junior Mady Gobrecht registered her second double-double of the season with 12 points and a game-best 10 rebounds.

The Bulldogs (2-3) have now lost three straight contests after starting the season with two consecutive wins. North Carolina A&T improves to 2-3 with the win.

Colborne’s game-high scoring output came on 8-for-16 shooting from the floor. She also pulled down seven rebounds for the Bulldogs. Freshman Ericka von Kaeppler was 7-for-8 from the field, netting a career-best 14 points, as Yale shot 50.7% (35-69) as a team. Junior Yoyo Greenfield netted 13 points for the second consecutive night, and freshman Megan Vasquez was the fifth Bulldog to reach double figures with 10 points. Gobrecht complimented her double-double with three blocked shots and a game-high six assists.

Yale was once again the aggressor on the boards, outrebounding the Aggies, 46-35, but Smalley’s offensive rebound in the closing seconds proved to be the different. Smalley was one of five North Carolina A&T players in double figures with 13 points. Tierra Thomas and Amber Calvin led the Aggies with 14 points apiece.

The contest was tight from the opening tip, featuring six ties in the first 20 minutes of play. Yale would open up a short-lived nine-point edge in the first half, but the high-scoring affair went to the intermission with the Bulldogs leading by just three points, 43-40. von Kaeppler led all players with 10 points in the opening half.

The Bulldogs opened up an eight-point lead in the second stanza, claiming at 63-55 advantage with 10 minutes remaining in the contest. The Aggies responded with a 10-2 run, featuring two points from five different players, to knot the score once again, 65-65, with 6:22 left. A Colborne layup gave Yale the lead at 71-70, and the Bulldogs soon reclaimed a two-possession advantage at 77-72 with 3:22 remaining. The potent North Carolina A&T offense would battle back, however, and the Aggies soon found themselves trailing by a single point, 79-78, with possession of the ball and 16 seconds on the clock. The Yale defense forced a tough shot by Crystal Murdaugh, which bounced off the rim and out, but Smalley was in the right place at the right time for the game-winning put-back.

Yale will travel back to the Eastern Time Zone for its next contest, a non-conference tilt at Bucknell on Dec. 5. Action returns to the John J. Lee Amphitheater on Dec. 9, as the Bulldogs host Boston University for a 5:30 p.m. game.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity