The Bulldogs entertain the first of two in-state rivals in their third home game of the season tonight. Sacred Heart visits Yale for the the first time since Nov. 25, 2006. Yale opened the season with five of the first six games on the road, but is now in the midst of four straight games inside the friendly confines of John J. Lee Amphitheater. The Bulldogs will not hit the road again until a year-ending tournament at Fordham University on Dec. 28-29.
Last Time Out
Yale played without starting guards Megan Vasquez and Yoyo Greenfield, as well as reserve Ericka von Kaeppler in a 59-57 home loss against Fairleigh Dickinson. Janna Graf, in the first start of her college career, made a game-tying shot as the final buzzer sounded, but officials ruled the shot came after the horn. Mady Gobrecht recorded her first double-double of the season, while Graf added 10 points. Jasmyra Saunders scored a game-high 16 points to help Fairleigh Dickinson hold on for the victory.
Home Sweet Home
Yale is playing just its fourth game at home this season tonight when it faces in-state rival Sacred Heart tonight. The Bulldogs opened the season with five of their first six games away from the friendly confines of John J. Lee Amphitheater. The Bulldogs are in the midst of a four-game homestand which will be split in half for a 10-day break for the Fall semester final exams. The action will ramp up when the players return from exams to face Atlantic Coast Conference power Florida State, which will travel to New Haven for the thrilling contest. The Bulldogs will be looking for their second win in 10 attempts against an opponent from the ACC. The December homestand will conclude against another in-state rival, Quinnipiac, on Dec. 20.
On The Holiday Horizon
Following this stretch of four consecutive home games, the Bulldogs will depart for the Bronx to take part in the Fordham Holiday Classic, joining the teams from Fordham, Villanova and Sienna. On Dec. 28, Villanova will meet Sienna and Yale will take on the tournament hosts at Rose Hill Gym on the Fordham campus. On Dec. 29, Yale will face Villanova, while Fordham will square off against Sienna. It will be the 16th meeting for Yale against Fordham, which leads the series 10-5. The tournament will also feature Yale's first-ever game against Villanova.
Senior captain Yoyo Greenfield and sophomore Megan Vasquez, both starting guards for the Bulldogs, as well as top-scoring reserve Ericka von Kaeppler, are expected back in the lineup tonight against Sacred Heart. Grenfield and Vasquez both missed the games against Providence and Fairleigh Dickinson after a collision in practice earlier last week left them both with a mild concussion. It was the first time this season that both players missed a game and the first time that Greenfield missed a start since Yale visited Penn on Jan. 29, 2010. She started 27 of the 28 games she played in last season, while Vasquez has started 19 of the 33 games she has played in at Yale. For von Kaeppler, who suffered a mild concussion in the first half against Providence, the Fairleigh Dickinson game was the first one she has missed this season and just the third one of the sophomore forward's short career at Yale.
Time To Shine
Due to the injuries to Yoyo Greenfield and Megan Vasquez, the Bulldogs saw a pair of players earn their first starts of their collegiate careers at Providence. Aarica West certainly got her chance to shine. She played a game-high 33 minutes and made almost every one of those minutes count. She collected a career-high seven assists to go along with four points, five rebounds and three steals. Alicia Seelaus also earned the chance to start, playing 16 minutes. The pair of sophomores have played in all seven games this season. West also earned the start at point guard against Fairleigh Dickinson on Monday, while freshman forward Janna Graf earned the first start of her college career against the Knights in Monday night's loss. She scored 10 points in 34 minutes in her debut in the starting lineup and made a shot just after the final buzzer that would have forced overtime.
Bring On The NEC
Tonight's game against Sacred Heart represents the second of three games against opponents from the Northeast Conference. Yale fell to Fairleigh Dickinson, 59-57, on Monday, and is slated to meet Quinnipiac on Dec. 20. All three games are home games for the Bulldogs. Yale is a combined 23-28 against eight of the 12 teams in the NEC. Yale has never faced Robert Morris, Monmouth, St. Francis (Pa.), or Mount St. Mary's.
Dominating The Leaderboard
After leading the Bulldogs in scoring last season as a freshman, sophomore point guard Megan Vasquez is already making her mark on the Ivy League leaderboards. Counting all games through Dec. 5, Vasquez is sixth in the Ivy League in scoring (12.6 points per game), third in 3-pointers per game (1.8), and fourth in assists (2.8 apg), which is tied with teammate Yoyo Greenfield. She is also eighth in 3-point shooting percentage (40.9 percent), seventh in free-throw percentage (76.9 percent), and 20th in rebounding (4.4 rpg).
Strength In Numbers
Despite allowing an Ivy League-worst 74.0 points per game through games from Dec. 5, the Bulldogs are still showing some positive signs on the defensive end. They are the top team in the Ivy League in steals with an average of 10.0 per game. They are also third in 3-point defensive shooting percentage, allowing a league-low 18 made threes on just 28.6 percent success. Offensively, the signs are just as positive. The Bulldogs are third in the Ivy League in scoring (60.7 points per game) and second in free-throw percentage (73.6 percent). They are also third in the league in assists (13.8 apt) and tied with Harvard for the Ivy lead in 3-pointers made per game (6.7).
Week To Forget
The Bulldogs dropped back to back losses during the first full week of the season, falling at Boston University, 83-64, and at home to Delaware, 79-61. It is the first time Yale has 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 in 2008-09, falling at Penn (62-46), at Cornell (80-62) and at Columbia (77-61).
The Bulldogs' West Coast trip gave them a chance to face a pair of foes that they have met only once prior to the 2010-11 season. On Nov. 23, Yale met California for the first time since 1979, in Berkeley, where they fell 64-41. Last month's meeting was the sixth loss for the Bulldogs in six tries against a Pac-10 team. The Bulldogs then headed east to take on UC Davis, where they lost a hard-fought battle against the Aggies, 73-62. For Ericka von Kaeppler, the trip was a chance to play in front of friends and family. She grew up in Palo Alto, which is located just south of Berkeley. Two other Bulldogs also had the opportunity to play in their home state, but still hours away from home. Yoyo Greenfield is a Los Angeles native, while Aarica West is from Buena Park.
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 the Nov. 23 game against California, sophomore forward Ericka von Kaeppler and her family entertained her coaches teammates at their home just outside of Palo Alto, Calif., on the night before Thanksgiving 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 the Nov. 26 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.
Yale was outrebounded in six of the first seven games of the season by a total of 318-235 and by an average of 11.9 rebounds per game. Yale outrebounded one opponent this season — in the 73-62 loss at UC Davis. Opponents have outshot the Bulldogs in every game. In the seven games so far this season, Yale has allowed opponents to hit 202-430 shots overall, or 47.0 percent from the field, while the Bulldogs have only hit on 151-431 attempts, or 35.0 percent. In three of those games, Yale has allowed the opponent to make 30 or more field-goal attempts. The Bulldogs have also allowed the opponent to shoot 50 percent or better three times. 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.
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.
Scouting Sacred Heart
Sacred Heart is coming off of a 19-11 campaign in 2009-10, during which it finished a 3rd-place 12-6 in the Northeast Conference and lost to Central Connecticut in the quarterfinals of the NEC's postseason tournament. The Pioneers, however, return 10 of the 13 players from last year's squad, including four of the five starters and add a solid group of four freshmen. The Pioneers lost two of their first three games before pulling off an upset 65-53 win over Auburn at the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas. Sacred Heart has not shied away from tough competition in the early stages of the season, facing Hartford prior to visiting the Bahamas where it took on Auburn and ACC power Boston College. The Pioneers are coming off their worst loss of the season — an 86-32 defeat at the hands of No. 1 Connecticut, which earned its 86th consecutive win on Sunday. Tonight is the fifth game out of the last six that the Pioneers have played away from home. Yale is the third in-state opponent for the Pioneers after Hartford and UConn. The Pioneers will also face Central Connecticut and Quinnipiac once NEC play begins.
Yale is hosting Sacred Heart for the first time since Nov. 25, 2006. The Bulldogs are 3-10 all-time against the Pioneers and 3-7 against in-state opponents during Chris Gobrecht's tenure as Yale's head coach. Yale's last win over Sacred Heart came on Nov. 29, 1979, in the second game of the Yale Tip-Off Tournament. 84-43. After that win, the two teams did not meet again until Dec. 4, 1999, The Pioneers have won the last nine meetings.
A Part Of History
Sacred Heart became the 86th consecutive opponent to fall to UConn. The Huskies are two wins away from tying the Division I record of 88 straight wins set by the UCLA teams from 1971-74 coached by the legendary John Wooden. Prior to embarking on its current winning streak, UConn owned the previous women's basketball record for consecutive wins, winning 70 consecutive games from 2001-03. The Huskies can tie the record with wins over Marquette and Ohio State.
Sacred Heart represents the second consecutive opponent for Yale from the NEC. The Bulldogs defeated Fairleigh Dickinson Monday. Following a game against Florida State, Yale will face its third NEC opponent in four games when it plays host to Quinnipiac on Dec. 20.
Against The Ivy League
Sacred Heart is 22-15 all-time against Ivy League opponents. The Pioneers have faced Yale the most, with tonight being the 14th meeting, followed by Columbia (4-4) and Brown (3-3). The only Ivy League school never to square off against Sacred Heart is Penn. Sacred Heart owns winning records over only Yale and Princeton (4-0).
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity