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Colorado Holds Off Bulldogs, 78-71

Michelle Cashen. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Michelle Cashen. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

BOULDER, Colo. – The Yale women’s basketball team jumped out to an early lead against a Big 12 opponent for the second consecutive game, this time running out in front of Colorado at the Coors Event Center in Boulder, Colo. on Monday evening. But just as they had done two days previous against Kansas State, the Bulldogs valiant effort was not enough as the Buffaloes escaped an upset by a score of 78-71. Sophomore Michelle Cashen paced Yale with 18 points and 11 rebounds to register her third double-double of the season.

With the loss, Yale falls to 4-8. The Buffaloes improved to 10-3 on the season, including a 9-1 mark at home.

“We continue to improve with every game we play”, said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women’s Basketball at Yale. “We played well on the road against two very tough opponents on this trip, and there is no doubt in my mind that we will be in great shape for the Ivy League season”.

Cashen’s team-best 18 points came on a stellar 9-for-10 shooting effort from the floor. Junior Mady Gobrecht joined her in double figures with 14 points, and freshman Megan Vasquez added 10. Senior captain Ashley Carter hauled in nine rebounds as the Bulldogs bested their opponents on the glass by a 45-35 margin. Senior Melissa Colborne complimented her five points with a team-high four assists.

Point guard Chucky Jeffrey paced Colorado with 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Megan Malcolm-Peck shared the game high in scoring with 19 points of her own. The Bulldogs’ swarming defense held the Buffaloes’ top two scorers, Brittany Spears and Bianca Smith, below their season averages in the contest.

Yale stormed out of the gates with the first five points of the contest, inducing a Colorado timeout just 1:21 into the first half. In total, the Bulldogs grabbed a 7-0 lead before the Buffaloes got on the board, but three three-pointers led a Colorado rally that saw Yale hold a slim 14-13 lead entering the first media timeout with 15:57 left in the half. Gobrecht scored seven points for Yale over the opening four minutes of action. The momentum went back-and-forth from that point forward, as the score was knotted up at two occasions and within five points the rest of the way. Yale stayed in control due in large part to a 28-14 rebounding edge and entered the intermission holding a 34-33 lead.

Gobrecht led all players with 11 points in the first half as the Bulldogs shot 40% (12-for-30) from the field, connected on one of eight three-point attempts and drained 75% (9-for-12) for their free throws. Cashen tallied eight points and six rebounds in the opening 20 minutes, and Carter led the way on the glass with eight first-half rebounds.

Three Buffaloes had eight points before the intermission as the home team shot 37.1% (13-for-35) from the floor, 44.4% (4-for-9) from three-point range and 75% (3-for-4) from the charity stripe. Colorado also forced 14 Yale turnovers while committing just seven of its own.

The Buffaloes scored on the opening possession of the second half to claim their first lead of the game and rolled to a 10-2 run to build a 43-36 lead and force Coach Gobrecht to call a timeout. Yale would not allow any more extended runs, but the home team’s offense continued to steadily put points on the scoreboard, leading by as many as 15 at 60-45 with 9:20 left in the game. The tenacious Bulldogs would trim the lead down to seven points at 74-67 with 57 seconds left, but the clock continued to tick down and Colorado hit its free throws down the stretch to hold on for a 78-71 victory.

Cashen scored 10 of her 18 points after halftime, while Vasquez and fellow freshman Allie Messimer each netted eight points in the second half.

Yale continues its season-long seven-game road trip on Saturday, Jan. 9 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Tip-off from Newark, N.J. is slated for 2 p.m. That contest will be the Bulldogs’ final non-conference tune-up before opening the Ivy League slate at Brown on Jan. 15.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity