The Bulldogs conclude their West Coast trip in hopes of putting an end to a three-game losing streak when they take on the Aggies in a non-conference game Friday night. Yale is looking to end the trip on a high note after falling to California 64-41 in Berkeley on Tuesday. Prior to that loss, Yale suffered a pair of double-digit losses, including an 83-64 loss at Boston University and a 79-61 loss at home against Delaware. Yale is meeting UC Davis for just the second time in its history.
Last Time Out
Despite a starting lineup consisting of four sophomores and a freshman, California used a 64-34 rebounding advantage to secure a 64-41 win over Yale in the first game of the Bulldogs' West Coast trip. Two Cal players tallied double-doubles: Talia Caldwell (17 points, 16 rebounds) and DeNesha Stallworth (14 points, 11 rebounds). Megan Vasquez scored 11 points to lead the Bulldogs. Mady Gobrecht added 10 points and five rebounds.
Scouting UC Davis
UC Davis is coming off of a 21-11 campaign in 2009-10, which included a first-place, regular-season finish in the Big West and a trip to the WNIT, where it lost in the first round to eventual champion California. The Aggies return four starters from last season's squad, graduating guard Haylee Donaghe, who was the Big West defensive player of the year last season. The Aggies are a threat from 3-point range. They set a school record last season with 206 made 3-pointers, an average of 6.4 per game. They are already well beyond that pace, making 34 in the first four games of the season, averaging 8.5 per game. Reserve forward Vicky Deely leads the Aggies with 11 threes, including five in a 65-49 loss at UCLA earlier this week. Despite splitting a pair of games on the road last weekend, the Aggies jumped eight spots in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 to No. 16. The Aggies are in the midst of just their fourth season at the Division I level. They made the jump from Division II in the 2007-08 season, advancing to the Big West Tournament championship game in their first season in the league.
There will be shades of Yale on both benches when the two teams meet Friday. The Bulldogs will be wearing their standard road blue uniforms. But when the Aggies take the floor, their uniforms will also feature a hint of Bulldog Blue. In the UC Davis media guide, the Aggies team colors are officially listed a Yale Blue and Gold.
Sandy Simpson, the head women's basketball coach at UC Davis since 1998, will retire at the end of the 2010-11 season, his 13th at the helm. He led the program through its transition from Division II to Division I just four years ago. To date, he has compiled an overall record of 230-145 (.613), leading the Aggies to a third-place finish in the 1997 NCAA Division II Championships, WNIT berths in 2008 and 2010, and the Big West regular-season title last season. His last season is expected to end in spectacular fashion. His Aggies were selected to repeat as Big West champions in the conference's preseason poll. Associate Head Coach Jennifer Gross will take over as the team's head coach when Simpson's retirement becomes official.
Yale has faced UC Davis only once in its 37-year history prior to Friday's game. The last meeting came last season when the Aggies made the visit to the Yale campus on Dec. 19 in the first game following final exams. The Aggies left New Haven with a 60-55 victory behind 11 points from Kasey Riecks and 10 from Haylee Donaghe. Mady Gobrecht led all scorers with 16 points and eight rebounds. Megan Vasquez added 10 points and seven boards. Yale is 2-3 all-time against teams from the Big West Conference.
The Bulldogs' West Coast trip gives them a chance to face a pair of foes that they have met only once before. Yale met California on Tuesday in Berkeley, where they fell 64-41 to the Golden Bears. It was the sixth loss for the Bulldogs in six tries against an opponent from the Pac-10. Following the stay in Berkeley, the Bulldogs head east to take on UC Davis, which is located just west of Sacramento. For sophomore Ericka von Kaeppler, the trip is a chance to visit home. She grew up in Palo Alto, which is located just south of Berkeley. Two other Bulldogs are going back to play in their home state, but still hours away from home. Yoyo Greenfield is a Los Angeles native, while sophomore Aarica West is from Buena Park, just south of Los Angeles.
Week To Forget
The Bulldogs dropped back to back losses last week, falling at Boston University, 83-64, and at home to Delaware, 79-61. It is the first time that Yale lost back to back games by 18 or more points apiece since the 2007-08 season when it opened the season with a 56-point home loss to Stanford (100-44) on Nov. 9, 2007, and a 46-point loss at Arizona State (84-38) on Nov. 19, 2007. Yale nearly matched the undesirable trend when it lost three Ivy League games in a row by at least 16 points in 2008-09, falling at Penn (62-46), at Cornell (80-62) and at Columbia (77-61).
Yale has been outrebounded in all four games by a total of 194-127 and by an average of 16.8 rebounds per game. Opponents have outshot the Bulldogs in every game. In the four games so far this season, Yale has allowed opponents to hit 122-249 shots overall, or 49.0 percent from the field, while the Bulldogs have only hit on 87-of-256 attempts, or just 34.0 percent. The Bulldogs have led at halftime in only one game, which also happened to be the only victory of the year, coming in the season-opener at Holy Cross.
Models of Consistency
Senior forward Mady Gobrecht has been one of the most consistent performers in the opening weeks of the season for the Bulldogs. Gobrecht has averaged 10.5 ppg, scoring in double figures in each of the Bulldogs' four games this season while hitting 17 of her 43 field-goal attempts and seven of her nine free-throw attempts. She has also averaged 5.8 rpg, grabbing at least five rebounds in each of the four games. She also has totaled nine assists and two blocks.
Thanksgiving Still A Family Affair
Although the players and coaches were away from their families for the Thanksgiving holiday, they still found a way to make the holiday feast a family affair. Following Tuesday's game against California, sophomore forward Ericka von Kaeppler and her family entertained her coaches teammates at their home just outside of Palo Alto, Calif., Wednesday night for a home-cooked dinner. They traveled to the campus facility at UC Davis on Thanksgiving morning and staged an early morning practice in preparation for Friday's game against the Aggies. Following the practice, the players and coaches gathered together for a Thanksgiving feast with each other in the afternoon to celebrate the holiday as a team in Sacramento, a short 20-minute ride away from the UC Davis campus.
Every Day is Mother's Day
Senior forward Mady Gobrecht is the daughter of head coach Chris Gobrecht. They are the only current active mother-daughter, coach-player tandems in Division I women's basketball. This is the sixth time in Yale's 157-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).
The Fab Four
Yale has bolstered its lineup for 2010-11 with four freshmen that are expected to make an immediate impact. Guard Amanda Tyson, forwards Janna Graf and Alexandra Osborn-Jones, and center Zenab Keita comprise one of the strongest freshman classes during Head Coach Chris Gobrecht's tenure.
Nice to Meet You
Non-conference games against Florida State, Delaware and Villanova will all be first-time meetings. The scheduled West Coast trip will mark just the second meeting Yale has had with California and UC Davis.
Making the Rounds
The Bulldogs' 14 non-conference games feature opponents from nine different conferences (ACC, Big East, Pac 10, America East, Big West, Northeast Conference, Atlantic 10, Colonial Athletic Association, and the Patriot League.
Seven teams on the Bulldogs' 2010-11 slate participated in the postseason last spring. Florida State and Princeton earned a berth in the 2010 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. Five other Bulldog opponents participated in the WNIT, including WNIT champion California.
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity