Vasquez Nets 19, Yale Rally Falls Short at Bryant

Megan Vasquez. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Megan Vasquez. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Freshman Megan Vasquez scored a game- and career-high 19 points and shared the game-high of eight rebounds for the Yale women’s basketball team at non-conference opponent Bryant on Monday afternoon, but the home Bulldogs from Rhode Island were able to hold off the New Haven Bulldogs by a final score of 69-62. Vasquez and senior Melissa Colborne each had seven points during a furious second-half rally that saw Yale storm back from 19 points down to cut the lead to a single bucket before Bryant pulled away for the seven-point win.

“We outplayed them when we played like ourselves,” said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women’s Basketball at Yale. “It just took us too long to play like ourselves.”

With the loss, Yale falls to 5-10. Bryant, which beat Quinnipiac by 10 points on Saturday, improves to 6-11.

Freshman Allie Messimer also had a career high for Yale with 12 points. Colborne and senior Haywood Wright each tallied nine points, while Wright joined Vasquez as the leader on the glass with eight boards. As a team, Yale shot 33.3% (17-51) from the field, 42.9% (6-14) from three-point range and 64.7% (22-34) from the free throw line. The Blue and White, who were playing without leading rebounder Michelle Cashen, were edged on the boards, 36-34. Yale committed 22 turnovers, though just four of those miscues came in the second half, and forced the home team to turn the ball over 27 times.

Bryant was led by 12 points from a trio of players, Kelsey O’Keefe, Meredith Soper and Danielle Douglas, and got 10 points from Siamone Bennett. Bennett and Courtney Schermerhorn led Bryant on the boards with six rebounds each.

Bryant jumped out to an early lead, putting together a 12-2 run within the first five minutes of the contest to claim a 15-5 advantage. The home team would lead by as many as 11 points at 20-9, but Yale doubled-up its opponent over the next stretch of action to cut the deficit to six points, 25-19, with 7:52 left before halftime. Yale continued to roll out of the media timeout, netting the next six out of the stoppage to knot the score at 25-25 and force Bryant head coach Mary Burke to call a 30-second timeout. The Bulldogs from the Elm City would hit only two field goals over the final 6:39 on the half as the home team expanded its lead to as many as 12 points. Yale would hit its free throws to keep the deficit manageable, but entered the intermission trailing by 11 points, 47-36.

Vasquez led all players with 12 points in the first 20 minutes of action as Yale shot 50% (9-18) from the field. The Blue and White also connected on all three of their three-point attempts and shot 75% (15-20) from the charity stripe. Wright led the way on the glass with three boards and Yale was outrebounded, 13-11, in the frame. Yale was hindered by 18 first-half turnovers, though it did force 15 Bryant miscues. The home team, which was led by 11 points by Douglas, shot 56% (14-25) from the floor, 51.7% (4-7) from beyond the arc and 83.3% (15-18) from the free throw line.

Bryant started the second half on an 11-3 run, grabbing a commanding 19-point lead 58-39. Yale began to rally at that point, however, erupting on a 20-3 spurt, fueled by six points apiece from Messimer and Colborne, trimming the lead all the way down to a single possession at 61-59 with 7:39 left in regulation. The iron turned unkind for Yale, however, as open looks stopped falling while Bryant’s lead grew back to 10 points at 69-59. The visiting Bulldogs would manage just one field goal over the final 7:39 as Bryant held on for a 69-62 win.

“We couldn’t have asked for better looks,” said Gobrecht. “We need to knock those open shots down.”

Yale resumes Ivy League play on Friday, Jan. 22 as the Bulldogs return home to the John J. Lee Amphitheater to complete the home-and-home series with Brown. Action from the Elm City tips off at 7 p.m.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity