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Bulldogs Lock Down Dartmouth in 58-42 Victory

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

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – When the Yale women’s basketball team traveled to Dartmouth two weeks ago to challenge Big Green, it took two overtimes for the Bulldogs to grab a hard-fought, 70-66 victory. On Friday night at the John J. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven, Yale ensured that 40 minutes would be enough time to solidify a win over the defending Ivy League champions, jumping out to a 16-4 lead and never looking back en route to a 58-42 victory. Juniors Mady Gobrecht and Yoyo Greenfield netted 10 points apiece to pace the Bulldogs.

With the victory, Yale moves to 12-13 overall and 7-4 in the Ancient Eight. The Bulldogs have now surpassed last season’s win total and clinched an Ivy League mark of .500 or better for the second time in three years. Yale is 8-3 at home with a 5-1 Ivy League record within the familiar confines of Lee Amphitheater. The Bulldogs’ victory completes a Yale sweep of Big Green for the first time since the 1997-98 season. The win also gives the Bulldogs their first season sweep of the defending Ivy League champion since 1986-87, when they topped Harvard in both ends of the home-and-home series.

Dartmouth falls to 10-14 overall and drops to an even 5-5 tally in Ancient Eight competition.

“We’re a very good defensive team when we work that hard,” said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women’s Basketball at Yale. “I have a lot of respect for Dartmouth; they work extremely hard and it takes tremendous team effort to beat a team like that.”

Nine Bulldogs found the basket in the victory, as Yale shot 37.8% (17-45) from the field, 33.3% (5-15) from three-point range and 73.1% (19-26) from the free throw line. Senior Haywood Wright and freshman Megan Vasquez each tallied eight points, and sophomore Michelle Cashen and freshman Allie Messimer each registered six. Senior Melissa Colborne had five points to go along with her game-high four assists, while freshman Alicia Seelaus notched three points and junior Victoria Perez rounded out the offensive attack with two points.

Cashen and Vasquez shared the team high of seven rebounds to lead Yale’s 38-32 triumph on the glass. Yale converted 11 offensive rebounds into 12 second-chance points, while Big Green managed just two points from its 10 offensive boards. The Bulldogs were also the more opportunistic team in the turnover battle, netting 26 points off of 21 Dartmouth turnovers. The visitors forced 18 miscues of their own, but came away with just nine points off turnovers.

Big Green, which was held to 27.7% (13-47) shooting from the floor, was led by 15 points and nine rebounds from the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, Brittney Smith.

A Greenfield three-pointer starting things off on Yale’s opening possession as the Bulldogs would claim a 7-0 advantage before Dartmouth found the hoop for the first time. The home team held Big Green to just one field goal in opening 9:54 of the contest, as Greenfield, Gobrecht and Wright propelled Yale to a 16-4 lead. After a Betsy Williams layup ended Dartmouth’s drought, the Bulldogs immediately strung together another long run. Seven points from Vasquez highlighted a 14-2 spurt over the ensuing 6:51 to give Yale a commanding 30-8 lead with 3:15 remaining until the intermission. Big Green’s offense found a bit of a rhythm for the remainder of the half, but the visitors would only trim the lead to 17 points as the Bulldogs went into the locker room with a 32-15 lead.

The 15 first-half points allowed by Yale tied its season best. Army also mustered just 15 points before halftime in the Bulldogs’ 55-42 victory on Nov. 17. Yale held Dartmouth to 22.7% (5-22) shooting in the frame, while knocking down half (11-22) of its own shots from the floor. Gobrecht, Wright and Dartmouth’s Smith shared the half best with eight points apiece.

The second half was much more evenly contested, a pace that kept the Bulldogs firmly in control with a double-digit lead. Big Green would trim the deficit as close as 13 points, with Yale suffering some shooting woes after the intermission, but the Bulldogs continued to draw fouls and knock down free throws to maintain a comfortable lead. Yale rebuilt its lead to as many as 18 points in the period and, when the final buzzer sounded, the Bulldogs claimed an impressive 58-42 victory.

Messimer had six points to lead Yale in the second half, as the Bulldogs shot just 26.1% (6-23) from the field but made up for it with 13 free throws on 20 second-half trips to the charity stripe. Big Green shot 32% (8-25) from the floor and 83.3% (10-12) from the free throw line.

The Bulldogs are back in action tomorrow to close out the 2009-10 home schedule as perennial rival Harvard visits the Elm City for a 7 p.m. contest. Seniors Melissa Colborne, Haywood Wright and captain Ashley Carter will be honored prior to the Saturday showdown with the Crimson.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity

Video Highlights by David Dikranian:

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