Bulldogs Run Past Cornell, 74-50

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

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Chris Gobrecht, Yale’s Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women’s Basketball, often refers to a style of play known as “Bulldog Basketball”. Fans in attendance at the John J. Lee Amphitheater on Friday night got a textbook definition of “Bulldog Basketball”, as Yale turned in its most complete effort of the season en route to defeating visiting Ivy League foe Cornell by a score of 74-50. The Bulldogs made their first 10 shots from the floor, propelling themselves to 40 points prior to the intermission, then came out of the locker room and held Big Red to just 18.5% shooting in the second half. Sophomore Michelle Cashen recorded a double-double for the Bulldogs, while junior Mady Gobrecht led the 11 Yale players who put tallies on the board with a team-best 13 points.

“We played excellent team offense and team defense tonight,” said Coach Gobrecht. “Everything we have worked on and shown flashes of all season came together tonight.”

Yale, which never trailed against Cornell, improves to 8-11 overall and 3-2 in the Ivy League. Winner of three of their last four games overall as well as three of their last four in New Haven, the Bulldogs have surrendered 60 points or fewer in all eight of their victories in 2009-10 campaign. Cornell, now losers of 10 straight games, falls to 5-13 on the season and remains winless at 0-5 in Ancient Eight play. Big Red had won the last five meetings between the two programs, including two straight in the Elm City.

Gobrecht’s 13 points came on a 5-for-7 shooting day, as the Bulldogs shot 46.3% (25-54) from the floor, 33.3% (5-15) from three-point range and 73.1% (19-26) from the free throw line. Cashen’s double-double was comprised of 10 points and 10 rebounds, including five off of the offensive glass, to lead a dominant Yale performance on the boards. The Bulldogs outrebounded Big Red, 44-31, and turned 18 offensive boards into 20 second-chance points. Senior Melissa Colborne also tallied double figures, netting 11 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists.

Senior Haywood Wright, junior Yoyo Greenfield and freshman Megan Vasquez each scored eight points in the game, while senior captain Ashley Carter notched five. Freshmen Allie Messimer and Alicia Seelaus each scored four points, while fellow rookie Ericka von Kaeppler had two. Sophomore Verena Lehner made her first career appearance and drained one of two free throws to round out the Yale scoring effort.

Defensively, each team forced 19 turnovers, though Yale converted the Big Red miscues into 24 points as compared to 16 Cornell points after turning the Bulldogs over. Yale also turned back seven shots, led by two apiece from Cashen and Wright, while Big Red blocked a pair of Bulldogs’ offerings.

Cornell was led offensively by 20 points from Allie Fedorowicz and 10 points from Clare Fitzpatrick. Virginia McMunigal and Lauren Benson, two Big Red players among the Ivy League’s top 20 scorers, combined for just three points against the stingy Yale defense, with Benson being held scoreless. Big Red shot 29.3% (17-58) from the field, 46.2% (6-13) from three-point range and 76.9% (10-13) from the free throw line.

Yale came racing out of the gates, as Cashen and Gobrecht each notched points down low in the first minute to give the Bulldogs a 4-0 lead. Those layups started a hot streak for the Bulldogs’ offense, as Yale hit its first 10 shots, with the first miss coming on a half-court heave with the shot clock winding down. In total, it took nearly 11 minutes for Yale to miss a field goal other than the desperate shot, as the Bulldogs shot 91.7% (11-12) in the early stages of the first half to hold a 28-17 lead with 9:09 remaining. The law of averages caught up with Yale for a while after the hot start, but a three-pointer from Wright ended a streak of four missed shots and staked the Bulldogs with a 12-point edge at 31-19. The action leveled off over the final five minutes of the opening period, as the teams traded points to send Yale into the locker room with an 11-point advantage, 40-29.

The 40 points scored by the Bulldogs marked the most that the team had scored in a half since dropping 40 in the second half against Brown on Jan. 22. Yale hadn’t scored 40 points over the first 20 minutes of a contest since the Nov. 28 game with North Carolina A&T. Yale shot a scorching 61.5% (16-26) in the frame, complimented by a 55.6% (5-9) performance from beyond the arc and a 75% (3-4) half at the free throw line. Gobrecht netted 10 of her eventual 13 points prior to halftime. Fedorwicz had 16 of Big Red’s 29 first-half points, as the visitors shot 38.7% (12-31) from the floor, 66.7% (4-6) from beyond the three-point arc and sunk their lone free throw attempt.

After Cornell netted the first points of the second half, Yale reeled off an 11-0 spurt to grab a 20-point advantage at 51-31. It would be nearly seven minutes before Big Red got on the board again, and the Bulldogs once again answered that lone bucket with an extended run. The 7-0 stretch, which was highlighted by four points from Colborne, put the game firmly out of reach with Yale leading by 25 points, 58-33, with 9:19 remaining in the contest. Yale would lead by as many as 27 points, and the cushion never slipped below 22, en route to sealing a convincing 74-50 victory.

Despite her team’s stellar performance, Coach Gobrecht kept the win in its proper perspective. “Of course, since this is the Ivy League, we have to be ready for a different team with a completely different style tomorrow.”

The Bulldogs will host the Lions from Columbia on Saturday evening. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. with Youth Day festivities beginning at 4:30 p.m. Columbia rallied from a late deficit to take a 65-60 win at Brown this evening, improving to 13-6 overall and 4-1 in the Ivy League.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity