February 5, 2010

Bulldogs to Host Ivy Pair; Youth Day at JLA on Saturday

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women’s basketball team returns home to the John J. Lee Amphitheater this weekend, looking improve to upon its 2-2 Ivy League record against the Ancient Eight’s New York contingent: Cornell (5-12, 0-4 Ivy) and Columbia (12-6, 3-1 Ivy). The Bulldogs (7-11 overall) will challenge Big Red on Friday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m., while the Lions, who will play at Brown on Friday, visit the Elm City on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. Saturday will also mark the Bulldogs’ annual Youth Day event, with festivities beginning at 4:30 p.m. Both games will feature live stats and will be broadcast live via Yale All-Access with audio commentary provided by WYBC, Yale’s student radio station. John Song ’11 and Ian Halpern ’10 will be on the call on Friday, with Paul Treadgold ’11 and Hannah Smith ’10 taking over on Saturday. The audio from the Yale All-Access broadcasts will also be streamed live at WYBC.com.

Youth Day & National Girls and Women in Sport Day
Saturday’s game with Columbia will be a part of the Bulldogs’ Youth Day and National Girls and Women in Sport Day celebration. The festivities will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the concourse of the John J. Lee Amphitheater. Guests include representatives of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, as well as the Yale cheerleading team and the Girl Scouts of America. Additionally, the first 100 girls ages 14 and under will receive a free National Girls and Women in Sport Day t-shirt. During the basketball game, there will also be face painting and prizes. The Yale players and coaches will be available shortly after the contest with the Lions for an autograph session (poster provided). Admission to the game will be free for all children ages 14 and under.

Last Time Out
Yale split a road set in its first full weekend of Ivy League play, winning on Friday night at Penn before falling at first-place Princeton on Saturday. Junior Yoyo Greenfield averaged a team-best 12.5 points per game for the weekend, while freshman Megan Vasquez notched 16 points in the victory at the Palestra. Junior Mady Gobrecht chipped in on all fronts, averaging 8.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks in the pair of Ancient Eight contests.

Don’t Bother Packing a Broom
The Bulldogs have earned a split or better at home against Big Red and the Lions in every season since the current Ivy League scheduling system began in the 1986-87 campaign. Yale has swept Cornell and Columbia in New Haven on back-to-back days on 12 occasions.

Scouting Cornell
Losers of their last nine games after a 5-3 start to the 2009-10 season, the Cornell Big Red enters the weekend at 5-12 overall and 0-4 in the Ivy League. Columbia swept the home-and-home series from Cornell, and Big Red most recently dropped a pair of league games at Dartmouth and Harvard. Virginia McMunigal has been Cornell’s offensive leader with 10.3 points per game, though she has missed Big Red’s last three games with a knee injury, and her status for this weekend remains unknown. Lauren Benson also cracks the Ivy League top 20 in scoring with 8.5 points per contest, while also ranking 20th in rebounding with 4.4 boards per game and second in assists with 5.4 per game. Allie Munson leads Big Red on the glass with 4.9 rebounds per game, and reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Week Clare Fitzpatrick is right behind her with 4.8 boards per game. Cornell and Yale both challenged Bucknell in the non-conference season, with Big Red hosting and falling to the Bison while Yale traveled to Lewisburg and claimed victory over the Patriot League foe.

Last Meeting
Melissa Colborne scored a season-high 27 points, matching her career best, but the Bulldogs could not overcome a 61.2% shooting day from Cornell and fell to the host Big Red by a final score of 80-62 on Feb. 20, 2009. The win completed a sweep of the home-and-home series for Cornell.

Series History
The Bulldogs lead the all-time series with Cornell, 39-22, though Big Red has won the last five meetings. Prior to Cornell’s current streak, Yale had won its last four home games against Big Red.

Scouting Columbia
Led by the Judie Lomax, the Ivy League’s leading scorer and rebounder, the Columbia Lions enter the weekend with a 12-6 overall record and a 3-1 Ancient Eight mark. Lomax, who averages 18.8 points per game and leads Division I with 14.4 boards per contest, also ranks in the Ivy League top five in field goal percentage, assists and steals. Columbia also boasts two more players ranking among the league’s best in points and rebounds: Kathleen Barry (12.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Lauren Dwyer (10.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg). The Lions, who have swept Cornell and downed defending champion Dartmouth this season in addition to a loss at Harvard, also bested Sacred Heart in the non-conference season. The Pioneers, the defending Northeast Conference champions, hosted and defeated Yale on Dec. 28.

Last Meeting
Michelle Cashen posted a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds, both career highs, but the Bulldogs dropped a 77-61 decision at Columbia on Feb. 21, 2009. Judie Lomax, the nation’s leading rebounder, hauled in a game-best 18 boards and scored 20 points to lead four Lions in double figures as Columbia salvaged a split of the season series.

Series History
Yale holds a 37-13 edge in the all-time series, which dates back to a win over Barnard in the 1975-76 season. The Bulldogs have defeated Columbia in New Haven in each of the last two seasons.

Doing It with Defense
In all seven of their victories this season, the Bulldogs have held their opponents to just 60 points or fewer. Yale surrendered less than 20 points in the first half of wins against Army (15) and Bucknell (19) and limited Brown to just 19 points in the second half of a 67-43 victory on Jan. 22. UC Davis and Brown (first meeting, Jan. 15 in Providence) also tallied just 60 points against Yale, though both squads managed to hold off the Bulldogs and claim victory.

Freshman Phenom
Freshman Megan Vasquez, who leads Yale with 11.1 points per game in 2009-10, earned Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors for the second time this season after posting 13.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game against Bryant and Brown during the week of Jan. 18. Thus far in 2009-10, Vasquez has made seven starts in 18 games and averages 26.4 minutes of action per contest. In addition to her team-best scoring output, which ranks her third among Ivy League freshmen and 11th in the Ancient Eight overall, she ranks fifth in the league in free throw percentage (.773) and 10th in steals (1.4 spg). Vasquez has scored in double figures 12 times this season, including a string of nine straight games from Dec. 9 to Jan. 18. She previously earned Rookie of the Week laurels after averaging 16.0 points in road contests against Sacred Heart and Kansas State, two teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season.

Climbing the Ladder
Two-time All-Ivy honoree Melissa Colborne is once again one of Yale’s offensive pacesetters in 2009-10 with 8.4 points per game. The senior, who ranked second in the Ivy League in scoring in each of the last two seasons, currently ranks seventh in Yale history with 1,323 career points. The former Ivy League Rookie of the Year has already eclipsed the Yale program records for free throws made in a game (14), a season (156), a career (455) and in a game without a miss (12-for-12), as well as for free throw attempts in a career (600). Colborne’s career free throw percentage of .758 is among the best in Yale history.

Doing It All
Junior Mady Gobrecht is the lone Ivy Leaguer to rank in the league top 10 in field goal percentage (seventh, .445), rebounds (eighth, 6.6 rpg), steals (10th, 1.4 spg), assists (seventh, 2.7 apg) and blocked shots (fifth, 1.3 bpg). Gobrecht, the only Bulldog to start all 18 games in 2009-10, also ranks 18th in the Ancient Eight in scoring with 9.5 points per contest. She has tallied three double-doubles this season.

No Sophomore Slump
Sophomore Michelle Cashen, a 2008-09 All-Ivy Rookie Team selection, has been one of the Bulldogs’ most consistent players this season. Cashen is currently one of five Yale players averaging over 8.0 points per game and is the Bulldogs’ top rebounder with 7.2 boards per contest, slotting her at sixth in the Ivy League on the glass. The sophomore, who is also among the Ancient Eight’s best at the free throw line with a .771 shooting percentage, has tallied three double-doubles in 2009-10.

Block Parties
Junior Mady Gobrecht blocked a career-best six shots in the Bulldogs’ 68-58 win at NJIT on Jan. 9. Gobrecht, who ranks fifth in the Ivy League with 1.3 blocked shots per game, accounted for the most blocks by a Yale player since Erica Davis ’07 turned back seven Sacred Heart offerings on Nov. 25, 2006. Senior Haywood Wright, the third-most prolific shot blocker in Yale history with 102 rejections in her career, swatted five shots in the Bulldogs’ next contest at Brown on Jan. 15.

Spreading the Wealth
Though no Yale player ranks among the top 10 scorers in the Ivy League, the Bulldogs boast the only roster in the Ancient Eight with five active players averaging over 8.0 points per game. The Bulldogs, who have eight players contributing at least 19 minutes per game, have had five different players lead them in scoring and six different players lead the way in rebounding this season.

New Haven? Where’s That?
The Bulldogs ushered out 2009 and welcomed in 2010 with seven consecutive games away from the familiar confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater. Yale’s 33-day hiatus from action in the Elm City, which started in nearby Hamden, Conn. at Quinnipiac and ranged as far west as Boulder, Colo., spanned five states and three time zones. The Bulldogs also went 33 days without a home game last season, a stretch spanning six games from Nov. 18 to Dec. 21, 2008.

Schedule Strength
The 2009-10 Yale squad has challenged 2008-09 NCAA Regional Finalist Arizona State (L, 82-46) and NCAA Second Round participant Kansas State (L, 78-59) as well as 2008-09 conference champions Sacred Heart (L, 76-67) and North Carolina A&T (L, 80-79), which needed a buzzer beater to sneak past the Bulldogs on Nov. 28. Ivy League rival Dartmouth, last season’s Ancient Eight champion, will host Yale on Feb. 13 and will visit the John J. Lee Amphitheater on Feb. 26.

Picking on the Patriot
The Bulldogs went 3-0 against Patriot League foes this season, besting Holy Cross, Army and Bucknell. Yale was 1-2 against the same trio of opponents last season, posting a win at Holy Cross while dropping one-possession decisions to both the Bison (73-70) and Black Knights (62-60).

Double Double-Doubles
Sophomore Michelle Cashen (13 pts., 15 rebs.) and junior Mady Gobrecht (12 pts., 10 rebs.) both posted double-doubles in the Bulldogs’ season-opening victory over Holy Cross on Nov. 13. The last time two Yale players had double-doubles in the same game was on Jan. 13, 2007, when Erica Davis ’07 (21 pts., 11 rebs.) and Chinenye Okafor ’07 (10 pts., 13 rebs.) each performed the feat against Brown.

A Sign of Things to Come
With 15 points in the season-opening win against Holy Cross on Nov. 13, Megan Vasquez became the first freshman to lead Yale in scoring in her collegiate debut since Kaitlyn Lillemoe ’09 scored a team-best 19 points against New Hampshire to open the 2005-06 season.

Branches on the Coaching Tree
Chris Gobrecht was very familiar with her counterparts on the Arizona State bench on Nov. 19. Charli Turner Thorne, the head coach of the Sun Devils, was an assistant on Gobrecht’s staff at the University of Washington. In addition, Arizona State Associate Head Coach Meg (Gallagher) Sanders played collegiately on Gobrecht’s Cal State Fullerton squad from 1982-85.

That’s a Lot of W’s
With 460 wins in her career entering 2009-10, Chris Gobrecht ranks 30th among active Division I coaches in all-time victories. Among coaches on Yale’s 2009-10 schedule, only Bill Gibbons of Holy Cross (476 wins) has more career victories than Gobrecht. Gobrecht and Gibbons are both topped, however, by another coach from the Yale sidelines: Associate Head Coach Dianne Nolan, who amassed 517 wins as head coach of St. Francis (N.Y.) and Fairfield.

Making the Rounds
The Bulldogs’ 14 non-conference games featured teams from nine different conferences: America East, Big 12, Big West, Great West, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern Athletic, Northeast, Pac-10 and Patriot. Additionally, Bryant is a Division I Independent in its probationary period (ineligible for postseason play) with the Northeast Conference.

Every Day is Mother’s Day
Junior 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).

Rivalry Road Trip
The Bulldogs head back on the road next weekend to challenge a pair of formidable foes: perennial rival Harvard and defending champion Dartmouth. The Crimson hosts Yale in Cambridge on Friday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m., while Leede Arena in Hanover, N.H. will house the Bulldogs and Big Green on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.

WBCA Pink Zone
The Feb. 20 game against Penn will be the main event of Yale’s all-day WBCA Pink Zone event. The annual fundraiser, formerly known as “Think Pink”, is dedicated to raising awareness and donations for breast cancer research, with this year’s proceeds being donated to the Smilow Cancer Hospital. The festivities, which will take place throughout Payne Whitney Gymnasium, will begin at 10 a.m. on Feb. 20 with a “Battle of the Badges” bench press competition. The Yale gymnastics team will compete at Lee Amphitheater at 1 p.m. against Southern Connecticut and Bridgeport, while the basketball team takes the court against Penn at 7 p.m. The day will also consist of a health fair, a silent auction and many chances to win great prizes and support an important cause.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity

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