December 27, 2010

Yale To Meet Fordham, Villanova In Holiday Classic

Complete Game Notes in PDF

Fordham Holiday Classic

 

The Yale women's basketball team hits the road following a four-game homestand that featured the program's first-ever win over a nationally ranked opponent, a 91-85 win over No. 15/14 Florida State. The Bulldogs travel to the Bronx, N.Y., campus of Fordham University, where they will join Fordham, Villanova and Sienna in the Fordham Holiday Classic. In the tournament's opening game, the Bulldogs will take on Fordham on Dec. 29 at 1 p.m., and then they will wrap up the tournament against Villanova on Dec. 30 at 3 p.m.

 

Holiday History

This is the fourth consecutive season that Fordham has hosted the Fordham Holiday Classic, which began in 2007-08, which also featured Fairfield, Mt. St. Mary's and Troy. Overall, no team besides Fordham has played in the tournament more than once, with the 2008-09 tournament featuring Norfolk State, Bryant, and Colgate, and last season's tournament featuring Binghamton, UMBC, and East Carolina.

 

Scouting Fordham

After starting its season with four wins in its first five games, Fordham has since lost six of its last eight, including the last three straight games at home against Monmouth, Manhattan, and at Iona. In the last three games, opponents held Fordham to 45 or fewer points in each of the losses. Of the last six losses, three of them came at the Kansas Classic during Thanksgiving weekend. The Rams fell to Memphis, North Dakota State and Kansas in overtime.  With six seniors and 11 returnees overall on the squad, the Rams feature one of the most experienced squads in their recent history.

 

Series History

Wednesday's game is the 15th all-time meeting between the two teams, but the teams have not met since Dec. 7, 2006, when Fordham won, 72-63, at home. Fordham owns a 9-5 advantage, and it has won the last five straight meetings. Yale won three straight times from 1984-1986, but has not beaten Fordham since a 92-74 decision on Dec. 9, 1986. Yale is 4-3 in the series when playing at home and 1-6 at Fordham. Yale's lone win at Fordham was on Dec. 10, 1984, a 58-55 decision.

 

The Last Meeting

Fordham's Lisa Carrol scored a career-high 39 points, connecting on 17-of-19 free throw attempts, while shooting 10-of-18 from the field, to lead the Rams to a 72-63 victory over the visiting Bulldogs. The teams combined for 53 personal fouls and 84 free-throw attempts. Fordham connected on 37-of-45 free throws (82.2 percent). Melissa Colborne scored 14 points to lead the Bulldogs, while Chinenye Okafor added 10 points and Erica Davis had nine points and 10 rebounds. Besides Carrol's night, Annie Zopf netted 10 points and five rebounds, while Beth Troutt added nine points, five rebounds, and three assists. LaToya Chalmers chipped in seven points and three steals.

 

Nutmeg Connection

The Rams feature only one newcomer in their lineup, and she happens to have a Connecticut connection. The lone freshman on the squad is Abigail Corning. She was a four-year starter at Wethersfield High School and capped off her senior season as the Hartford Courant's 2009-10 Player of the Year. She set Wethersfield's record for points scored with 1,448 and was an All-State selection. She is already making an impact for the Rams. She has averaged 21.2 minutes in the Rams' 13 games, which has included four starts. She has averaged 7.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, and is leading the Rams in assists (2.2 apg). 

 

Just Around The Corner

Fordham and Villanova are 11th and 12th opponents, respectively, on Yale's 2010-11 schedule. Following the Fordham Holiday Classic, only two opponents remain on the non-conference schedule. The Bulldogs begin Ivy League play in just over two weeks when they play host to Brown on Jan. 14 at Yale at 7 p.m. The only non-conference teams remaining on the schedule are Bucknell at home on Jan. 2 and at Army on Jan. 9.

 

On The Road Again

Yale returns to the road for the Fordham Holiday Classic following a four-game homestand. Prior to the homestand, the Bulldogs opened the season with five of their first six games away from the friendly confines of John J. Lee Amphitheater. The Bulldogs will not be away from home for long, However. Following the Fordham tournament, the Bulldogs will play four of their next six games at home, including three of their first four game against Ivy League foes. Yale's next home game is Jan. 2 against Bucknell.

 

Injury Bug

Because of injuries and illness, Yale has yet to play a game this season with its lineup intact. Freshman forward Janna Graf missed the first three games of the season with mononucleosis. Starting guards Yoyo Greenfield and Megan Vasquez, as well as reserve forward Ericka von Kaeppler, all missed time due to concussion symptoms. Freshman forward Alexandra Osborn-Jones also missed time, sitting out the first six games of the season. Greenfield, the team's senior captain, has missed the last five games with her concussion, while Vasquez and von Kaeppler both returned to action against Sacred Heart.

 

Strength In Numbers

Despite allowing an Ivy League-worst 72.6 points per game through games from Dec. 22, the Bulldogs are still showing some positive signs on the defensive end. They are second in the Ivy League in steals with an average of 9.4 per game. They are also second in 3-point defensive shooting percentage, allowing 37 made threes, just one more than Ivy leader Penn, on just 30.3 percent success. Yale is also second in turnover margin at +3.0 per game. Offensively,  the signs have been just as positive. The Bulldogs are third in the Ivy League in scoring (65.5 points per game) and third in field-goal percentage (37.5 percent). They are also second in the Ivy League in assists (16.2 apg).

 

The 20-Point Club

With their efforts against Florida State and Quinnipiac, Megan Vasquez, Michelle Cashen and Janna Graf became one of 14 Ivy League players who have scored at least 20 points in a game this season. Vasquez reached the mark in both games, with a career-high 25 points against Florida State and 20 against Quinnipiac. Graf notched a career-high 22 points against Florida State, while Cashen scored a season-high 20 points against Quinnipiac.

 

Dominating The Leaderboard

After leading the Bulldogs in scoring last season, sophomore point guard Megan Vasquez is already making her mark on the Ivy League leaderboards. Through Dec. 22, Vasquez is second in the Ivy League in scoring (15.5 points per game), just behind Princeton's Niveen Rasheed, who leads the Ivy League with 16.7 ppg.

 

Scouting Villanova

After starting its season with four wins in its first five games, Villanova has since lost five out of its last six contests. The Wildcats are led by junior forward Lindsay Kimmel, who has averaged team highs in points (10.3 ppg) and minutes (27.8 mpg), and she is third on the team in rebounds (3.5 rpg). Sophomore forward Laura Sweeney is second on the team in scoring (10.0 ppg) and leads the team in rebounds (6.3 rpg). They are the only two players on the Villanova roster that are averaging in double figures in scoring. However, Sweeney (43.6 percent) is the only player on the roster that is shooting better than 38.0 percent.

 

Series History

Yale and Villanova are meeting for the first time in their respective histories. Overall, Yale is 7-33 against teams from the Big East, while Villanova is 51-8 against the Ivy League, including a 35-2 mark against Penn, which plays the Wildcats annually in the Big 5 series that pits the five schools from Philadelphia (Villanova, Penn, LaSalle, Saint Joseph's and Temple) against each other. Yale's last win over a Big East opponent came on Dec. 29, 2006, a 68-55 victory at home over Providence.

 

Balanced Minutes

Of the 10 Villanova players to earn playing time, seven of them are averaging at least 20 minutes per game. Lindsay Kimmel leads the way with 27.8 mpg, but Megan Pearson (25.9), Devon Kane (25.3), Laura Sweeney (24.3), and Jesse Carey (24.0) are all averaging at least 24.0 minutes per game. Of the 10 players, eight of them have played in all 11 games. Emily Suhey (10) and Heather Scanlon (9) are the only players to have earned playing time but have not played in all 11 games. Only three players on the Villanova roster have failed to get into a game this season, including sophomore Pearl Mensah and the team's two true freshmen, Lauren Burford and Emily Leer.

 

Searching For Offense

In its last four games, Villanova has failed to score more than 43 points, including a 30-29 win over Fairfield. The Wildcats have averaged only 51.4 points in their 11 games this season. They have scored 55 points only five times and are 3-2 in those contests. In contrast, Yale has scored 65.5 points per game in its 10 games this season.

 

On The Defensive

While the offense has struggled, the defense is keeping the Wildcats in games. The defense has held opponents to just 51.6 points per game. Opponents have scored more than 60 points only three times this season. The Wildcats' defense is toughest on the long-distance shooters. Opponents have been held to just 3.7 made 3-pointers per game and only 14.4 attempts from behind the arc. Opponents are shooting only 25.9 percent from 3-point range. Navy shot 0-for-12 from behind the arc against Villanova on Nov. 19, while Fairfield (1-for-15) and Temple (1-for-10) both made only one 3-pointer in their games against the Wildcats.

 

30 Is Just Enough

The Wildcats set a handful of team records with their 30-29 victory over visiting Fairfield on Dec. 2. They held the Stags to just nine first-half points, which matched the fewest points allowed in a half by the Wildcats since March 6, 2005, when Villanova allowed only nine first-half points to Boston College in a 41-37 win in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament. The combined total of 59 points in the win over the Stags was the lowest in a Villanova game since 1972. The 30 points tied the fewest the team has ever scored in a win. The last time it happened came in second game of the team's varsity history when the Wildcats beat Our Lady of Angels, 30-13, in 1969.

 

Yale Sweeps Ivy Awards

After leading Yale to a pair of victories, including its first-ever win over a nationally ranked opponent, Michelle Cashen, Janna Graf and Megan Vasquez were all honored on Dec. 23 by the Ivy League for their efforts. Cashen was named the Ivy Player of the Week and Graf was named the Ivy Rookie of the Week, while Vasquez earned a place on the weekly Honor Roll. It is the first time Yale has swept the Ivy League's weekly awards since senior Erica Davis and freshman Melissa Colborne won the awards on Jan. 2, 2007. Cashen averaged 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game in the two wins. She scored 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the win over No. 15/14 Florida State. Against Quinnipiac, Cashen tallied 20 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, falling just two rebounds and two assists shy of recording the first triple-double in Yale's 38-year history. Graf averaged 16.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in the two games. She scored a career-high 22 points and pulled down five rebounds in the win over Florida State. She fell one rebound shy of her first double-double against Quinnipiac. She scored 11 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Vasquez averaged 22.5 points in the two wins. She scored a career-high 25 points versus Florida State, while she poured in 20 points against Quinnipiac.

 

Last Time Out

Yale rallied late in the first half and took control in the second half to earn a 74-68 win over in-state rival Quinnipiac on Monday, Dec. 20. Michelle Cashen and Megan Vasquez each scored 20 points to lead the Bulldogs (3-7) to their second straight win. Cashen also had eight rebounds and eight assists, falling just short of the first triple-double in Yale's history. Janna Graf had 11 points and nine rebounds. After falling behind 32-22 with 5:56 to play in the first half, the Bulldogs started to chip away at the deficit. Cashen had a pair of layups and a pair of assists on two 3-pointers to help fuel an 11-3 run that closed the half and sent the Bulldogs into the halftime break trailing only 35-33. It is the first time in seven games that the Bulldogs trailed at halftime but managed to pull out the win. Yale started the second half with a 20-8 run and held on the rest of the way to earn the victory.

 

One For The History Books

Yale earned perhaps the biggest victory in its 38-year history on Saturday, Dec. 18, when it stunned Florida State 91-85. At the time, the Seminoles were ranked 15th in the Associated Press Top 25 and 14th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. It is Yale's first-ever win over a ranked opponent. It was just the second win for the Bulldogs in 10 attempts against an opponent from the ACC. Yale's first win against the ACC came against North Carolina State University on Nov. 22, 2008, in the first game of the Subway Classic played at the University of Minnesota. Megan Vasquez and Janna Graf each recorded career scoring highs. Vasquez scored 25 points, which was the highest scoring output for a Yale player since Melissa Colborne scored 27 against Cornell on Feb. 20, 2009. Michelle Cashen recorded her first double-double of the season (11 points, 13 rebounds), while Graf tallied the first 20-point effort of her Yale career with 22 points. Aarica West dished out 10 assists, becoming the first Bulldog to record at least 10 since Stephanie Marciano had 10 against Stony Brook on Dec. 7, 2007.

 

Ending The Streak

Last Saturday's historic win over Florida State halted Yale's seven-game losing streak. It was the longest losing streak during Chris Gobrecht's tenure as Yale's head coach since her first season when the Bulldogs began the 2005-06 season with 10 straight losses. The longest losing streak in Yale's history is 11 straight losses, which was recorded twice in the team's 38 seasons.

 

Holiday History

This is the fourth consecutive season that Fordham has hosted the Fordham Holiday Classic, which began in 2007-08, which also featured Fairfield, Mt. St. Mary's and Troy. Overall, no team besides Fordham has played in the tournament more than once, with the 2008-09 tournament featuring Norfolk State, Bryant, and Colgate, and last season's tournament featuring Binghamton, UMBC, and East Carolina.

 

Scouting Fordham

After starting its season with four wins in its first five games, Fordham has since lost six of its last eight, including the last three straight games at home against Monmouth, Manhattan, and at Iona. In the last three games, opponents held Fordham to 45 or fewer points in each of the losses. Of the last six losses, three of them came at the Kansas Classic during Thanksgiving weekend. The Rams fell to Memphis, North Dakota State and Kansas in overtime.  With six seniors and 11 returnees overall on the squad, the Rams feature one of the most experienced squads in their recent history.

 

Series History

Wednesday's game is the 15th all-time meeting between the two teams, but the teams have not met since Dec. 7, 2006, when Fordham won, 72-63, at home. Fordham owns a 9-5 advantage, and it has won the last five straight meetings. Yale won three straight times from 1984-1986, but has not beaten Fordham since a 92-74 decision on Dec. 9, 1986. Yale is 4-3 in the series when playing at home and 1-6 at Fordham. Yale's lone win at Fordham was on Dec. 10, 1984, a 58-55 decision.

 

The Last Meeting

Fordham's Lisa Carrol scored a career-high 39 points, connecting on 17-of-19 free throw attempts, while shooting 10-of-18 from the field, to lead the Rams to a 72-63 victory over the visiting Bulldogs. The teams combined for 53 personal fouls and 84 free-throw attempts. Fordham connected on 37-of-45 free throws (82.2 percent). Melissa Colborne scored 14 points to lead the Bulldogs, while Chinenye Okafor added 10 points and Erica Davis had nine points and 10 rebounds. Besides Carrol's night, Annie Zopf netted 10 points and five rebounds, while Beth Troutt added nine points, five rebounds, and three assists. LaToya Chalmers chipped in seven points and three steals.

 

Nutmeg Connection

The Rams feature only one newcomer in their lineup, and she happens to have a Connecticut connection. The lone freshman on the squad is Abigail Corning. She was a four-year starter at Wethersfield High School and capped off her senior season as the Hartford Courant's 2009-10 Player of the Year. She set Wethersfield's record for points scored with 1,448 and was an All-State selection. She is already making an impact for the Rams. She has averaged 21.2 minutes in the Rams' 13 games, which has included four starts. She has averaged 7.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, and is leading the Rams in assists (2.2 apg). 

 

Just Around The Corner

Fordham and Villanova are 11th and 12th opponents, respectively, on Yale's 2010-11 schedule. Following the Fordham Holiday Classic, only two opponents remain on the non-conference schedule. The Bulldogs begin Ivy League play in just over two weeks when they play host to Brown on Jan. 14 at Yale at 7 p.m. The only non-conference teams remaining on the schedule are Bucknell at home on Jan. 2 and at Army on Jan. 9.

 

On The Road Again

Yale returns to the road for the Fordham Holiday Classic following a four-game homestand. Prior to the homestand, the Bulldogs opened the season with five of their first six games away from the friendly confines of John J. Lee Amphitheater. The Bulldogs will not be away from home for long, However. Following the Fordham tournament, the Bulldogs will play four of their next six games at home, including three of their first four game against Ivy League foes. Yale's next home game is Jan. 2 against Bucknell.

 

Injury Bug

Because of injuries and illness, Yale has yet to play a game this season with its lineup intact. Freshman forward Janna Graf missed the first three games of the season with mononucleosis. Starting guards Yoyo Greenfield and Megan Vasquez, as well as reserve forward Ericka von Kaeppler, all missed time due to concussion symptoms. Freshman forward Alexandra Osborn-Jones also missed time, sitting out the first six games of the season. Greenfield, the team's senior captain, has missed the last five games with her concussion, while Vasquez and von Kaeppler both returned to action against Sacred Heart.

 

Strength In Numbers

Despite allowing an Ivy League-worst 72.6 points per game through games from Dec. 22, the Bulldogs are still showing some positive signs on the defensive end. They are second in the Ivy League in steals with an average of 9.4 per game. They are also second in 3-point defensive shooting percentage, allowing 37 made threes, just one more than Ivy leader Penn, on just 30.3 percent success. Yale is also second in turnover margin at +3.0 per game. Offensively,  the signs have been just as positive. The Bulldogs are third in the Ivy League in scoring (65.5 points per game) and third in field-goal percentage (37.5 percent). They are also second in the Ivy League in assists (16.2 apg).

 

The 20-Point Club

With their efforts against Florida State and Quinnipiac, Megan Vasquez, Michelle Cashen and Janna Graf became one of 14 Ivy League players who have scored at least 20 points in a game this season. Vasquez reached the mark in both games, with a career-high 25 points against Florida State and 20 against Quinnipiac. Graf notched a career-high 22 points against Florida State, while Cashen scored a season-high 20 points against Quinnipiac.

 

Dominating The Leaderboard

After leading the Bulldogs in scoring last season, sophomore point guard Megan Vasquez is already making her mark on the Ivy League leaderboards. Through Dec. 22, Vasquez is second in the Ivy League in scoring (15.5 points per game), just behind Princeton's Niveen Rasheed, who leads the Ivy League with 16.7 ppg.

 

Dish And Assist

Normally, the assists category is dominated by the guards, but in the Ivy League, a post player is leading the way. Junior forward Michelle Cashen is leading the Ivy League in assists with 3.9 per game. In fact, Yale players take up three of the first four places on the top 10 list, and two post players are among the top eight. Sophomore guard Aarica West is second in the league with 3.6 assists per game and sophomore guard Megan Vasquez is fourth with 3.5 apg. Senior forward Mady Gobrecht is eighth among league leaders with 2.8 per game.

 

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.

 

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).

 

Schedule Strength

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 Tournament. Five others participated in the WNIT, including WNIT champion California.

 

Back In Action

Following the Christmas holiday, the Ancient Eight will return to the court with a busy slate of action. Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth and Brown are all in tournament play, while the other four Ivy squads return to action with games both on the road and at home. Columbia will make the long trip to Honolulu for the Pepsi Rainbow Wahine Invite, where it will take on host Hawaii, UNLV and Cal State Bakersfield. Yale looks to continue to build on its recent success at the Fordham Holiday Classic, while Brown travels to the Hawk Holiday Classic and Dartmouth hosts Kansas State and Wagner in its own Blue Sky Classic. Penn and Princeton get back into action for two games each on the road, while Cornell and Harvard each travel and host an opponent as the Ivies turn the corner on the new year.

 

Double-Double Trouble

In games played through Dec. 22, 13 Ivy League players have recorded at least one double-double this season. Yale's Megan Vasquez, Michelle Cashen and Mady Gobrecht are all members of the club, while Janna Graf fell one rebound shy of joining the club in Yale's win vs. Quinnipiac. Five Ivy players have tallied at least two double-doubles, led by Dartmouth's Brittany Smith (4) and Princeton's Niveen Rasheed (3).

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity