Bulldogs Cap WBCA Pink Zone Weekend with 70-38 Thrashing of Penn

Allie Messimer. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Allie Messimer. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women’s basketball team kicked off its WBCA Pink Zone celebration at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning in New Haven, and the celebrating never stopped in the John J. Lee Amphitheater as the Bulldogs opened their contest with Penn on a 22-2 run and never looked back en route to a 70-39 victory. The Yale defense held the Quakers to a season-low 22.2% shooting percentage and set a personal season best for points allowed. The offensive attack, which also set a season best by committing just 11 turnovers, was paced by 12 points from freshman Megan Vasquez as 11 Bulldogs put tallies on the board.

With the victory, Yale moves to 11-13 overall and 6-4 in the Ancient Eight. With four games still remaining in 2009-10, the Bulldogs have matched last season’s overall win total and surpassed their 2008-09 Ivy League win total by two victories. Yale is also 7-3 at home with a 4-1 Ivy League record at Lee Amphitheater. Penn, now losers of 13 consecutive decisions, falls to 1-22 on the season with an 0-9 Ivy League mark.

“We play at our best when we play as a team, not as individuals,” said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women’s Basketball. “Tonight we were committed to playing as a unit on both ends of the court.”

In addition to the 12 points from Vasquez, senior Melissa Colborne and junior Yoyo Greenfield also reached double figures with 10 points apiece. Senior captain Ashley Carter and junior Mady Gobrecht both tacked on seven points for Yale, while freshman Allie Messimer knocked down a pair of treys to account for six points. As a team, Yale shot 34.8% (8-23) from beyond the arc, with a 45.5% (25-55) field goal percentage overall and a 66.7% (12-18) day from the free throw line. Sophomore Michelle Cashen also had six points and shared the team-best of seven rebounds with senior Haywood Wright. Sophomore Verena Lehner notched five points, while Wright added three to her work on the boards. Junior Victoria Perez and freshman Alicia Seelaus each chipped in a bucket to round out the Yale scoring.

Yale was outrebounded, 41-37, by the Quakers, though Penn managed just five second-chance points and four fast break tallies from their work on the glass. Yale also dominated the turnover battle, committing just 11 miscues while turning Penn over on 21 occasions. The 21 Penn turnovers led to 25 Bulldogs’ points.

The Bulldogs grabbed a commanding lead from the get-go, tallying the first nine points of the game en route to 22-2 run over the opening 10:53 of the contest. Yale’s 20-point cushion was its largest of the half as the home team headed to locker room holding a comfortable 35-20 advantage.

Penn had staged a comeback from 19 points down to nearly upset Columbia last weekend, but a 13-2 Yale spurt to open the second half ensured that the Quakers would remain in the rearview mirror for the remainder of this evening’s contest. In all, the Bulldogs would hold Penn to just five second-half field goals(20%, 5-25) and 18 total points after the intermission as a Lehner triple in the closing seconds gave Yale its largest lead of the night and put the icing on a 70-38 victory.

The Bulldogs’ participation in the WBCA Pink Zone initiative saw nearly 1,000 fans, a season-best turnout, fill the stands of Lee Amphitheater. Yale’s fundraiser, dedicated to collecting donations for the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven to be designated for breast cancer research, featured a bench-press competition, a health fair and a silent auction.

“The fan support of our WBCA Pink Zone event was incredible,” said Coach Gobrecht. “It was especially great to see a large student population in the stands.”

Yale closes out the 2009-10 home slate next weekend, as Dartmouth and perennial rival Harvard visit the Elm City for a pair of 7 p.m. contests. Seniors Carter, Colborne and Wright will be honored prior to the Saturday showdown with the Crimson.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity