Bulldogs' Defense Stifles Brown in 67-43 Rout

Yoyo Greenfield. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Last season, the Yale women’s basketball team dropped its Ivy League opener to Brown, only to come back and trounce the Bears by 34 points just one week later. The Bulldogs were looking for history to repeat itself at the John J. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven on Friday, and they got it, avenging last week’s four-point defeat at Brown with a 67-43 home victory. 10 different players scored for the Bulldogs, led by 11 points each from junior Yoyo Greenfield and sophomore Michelle Cashen.

“This was the first time in a while that we played up to our potential,” said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women’s Basketball at Yale. “We did a great job defensively and we took care of the ball on offense.”

Yale committed a season-low 13 turnovers, finishing the game with no miscues in the final 10:17.

“Brown is a tough team,” said Gobrecht of Yale’s opponents. “They’re going to beat some Ivy teams this year.”

With the win, Yale improves to 6-10 overall and evens its Ivy League mark at 1-1. The Bulldogs were playing at home for the first time in 2010 following a 33-day, seven-game road trip. Brown falls to 4-12 overall and with a 1-1 record in the Ancient Eight.

Joining Greenfield and Cashen in double figures was senior Haywood Wright, who netted 10 points. Wright also eclipsed the century mark in career blocked shots, swatting two Brown offerings to raise her career total to 101. Freshman Megan Vasquez, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer in 2009-10, had eight points and hauled in a career-best nine rebounds. Senior Melissa Colborne also poured in eight points, while junior Mady Gobrecht and freshman Michelle Cashen each tallied six. Gobrecht also pulled down eight rebounds as Yale was barely edged on the glass, 42-41. Junior Victoria Perez had three points for Yale, and senior captain Ashley Carter and freshman Ericka von Kaeppler rounded out the Bulldogs’ scoring effort with two points apiece.

As a team, Yale shot 37.9% (22-58) from the floor, 33.3% (5-15) from three-point range and 66.7% (18-27) from the free throw line. Brown, which was led by a double-double from Natalie Bonds (10 pts., 11 rebs.), shot just 26.9% (14-52) from the field, 20% (1-5) from long range and 72.7% (14-19) from the charity stripe. In addition to committing just 13 turnovers of their own, the Bulldogs forced 25 Brown miscues in the contest.

The Bears started the contest on the offensive, leading by as many as five points en route to holding a 12-8 lead at the 13:23 mark. The Bulldogs, who missed five of their eight shots from the field, hit their stride at that point as four quick points from Colborne incited a 12-0 run that put Yale on top, 20-12. Brown responded in kind, however, netting the next 10 points to take a two-point lead at 22-20. The Bears would hold their two-point lead deep into the first half, but Yale notched the final five points of the period to enter the intermission with a three-point cushion at 27-24.

Bonds would score all 10 of her points in the first half, as she was held scoreless in 13 minutes of second-half action prior to fouling out. Yale was led by six first-half points from Wright, Cashen and Messimer. Despite hitting four fewer field goals in the half and just one three pointer to Yale’s four, the Bears stayed in the game thanks to a perfect 11-for-11 performance from the free throw line. Yale shot 50% (4-8) from the stripe in addition to a 35.7% (10-28) showing from the floor and a 33.3% (3-9) half from downtown.

The second half saw the back-and-forth battle resume, as the score ran to a 35-35 tie with 10:45 remaining in regulation. After the Bulldogs committed their 13th and final turnover on the ensuing possession, a jumper from Brown’s Sheila Dixon gave the Bears the lead that would ultimately be their last at 37-35. A Greenfield three-pointer on the Bulldogs’ next trip gave the advantage back to Yale, 38-37, and the home team would roll off 12 straight points to claim its first double-digit lead at 47-37 with 6:28 remaining. Another 10-0 run late in the half would put the contest firmly out of reach as Yale pulled away for a convincing 67-43 victory.

The 24-point margin of victory was the largest for Yale since defeating Brown by 34 points last season in Providence. The Bulldogs and Bears have split the season series in each of the last two seasons.

Yale will look to keep its momentum rolling as Ivy League play continues with a pair of road games at Penn and Princeton. Action from the Palestra in Philadelphia will tip off on Friday at 7 p.m., while Jadwin Gymnasium in Princeton, N.J. hosts a 6 p.m. contest with the Tigers on Saturday.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity