First Place on the Line When Yale Visits Princeton, Penn This Weekend

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The Yale women's basketball huddle. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Complete Game Notes in PDF
 

 

The Yale women's basketball team visits Princeton on Friday and Penn on Saturday with an opportunity to take over first place in the Ivy League standings. The Bulldogs are looking to avenge a 52-37 loss to Princeton in New Haven on Jan. 29. To do so, the Bulldogs will have to snap the Tigers' 18-game home winning streak. Princeton's last Ivy League loss at home came against Yale on Feb. 13, 2009. The road trip does not get easier for the Bulldogs when they visit Penn. Penn sits behind Princeton as the best defensive teams in the Ivy League, and both teams rank in the top 15 in the nation in points allowed per game. With a sweep of the weekend, Yale will return to New Haven atop the Ivy League standings.

 

Scouting Princeton

Princeton regained the top spot in the Ivy League standings last weekend following a sweep of Cornell and Columbia combined with Harvard's losses at Yale and Brown. Since Dec. 1, the Tigers have lost only two games, a double-overtime loss at St. Joseph's and a 73-67 loss at Harvard on Feb. 4. It was Princeton's first loss in Ivy League play since the 2008-09 season. The Tigers, undefeated in league play last season, were riding a 22-game conference winning streak, the fourth-longest in the nation prior to the loss at Harvard. Princeton has won three straight since that loss, holding all three teams to 50 points or less. Princeton has won the last 18 games played inside Jadwin Gymnasium, with the last home loss coming on Dec. 5, 2009 against Rutgers (60-50). The last home loss against an Ivy League opponent came against Yale on Feb. 13, 2009 (56-54).

 

Series History

In a series that dates back to Yale's first season as a varsity program in 1973-74, the two teams have met 74 times prior to Friday, with Princeton playing Yale more times than any other opponent. The Tigers lead the series 44-30, and they have won the last four meetings, with their last loss to the Bulldogs coming in a 56-54 decision at Princeton on Feb. 13, 2009. In games played at Yale, the Bulldogs hold a 19-16 advantage in the series. The Bulldogs are 3-8 against the Tigers during Chris Gobrecht's tenure as head coach at Yale.

 

Last Meeting

Yale led 22-20 at halftime in the first meeting of the season with Princeton in New Haven. The Bulldogs contained Princeton's top scorers Addie Micir and Lauren Edwards in the first half, holding them to seven and two points, respectively in the opening 20 minutes. However, Micir scored 11 of her game-high 18 points in the second half and Edwards scored 15 points in the final 20 minutes to lead Princeton to a 52-37 win on Jan. 29. The 20 first-half points tied the lowest output for the Tigers in a single half this season. Mady Gobrecht scored 11 of her team-high 13 points in the first half to help the Bulldogs maintain the offensive edge early, but the Bulldogs could not maintain that effort in the second half. Princeton used a 15-1 run midway through the second half to break the game open. It is Yale's only home loss over the last seven games inside John J. Lee Amphitheater.

 

Last Meeting At Princeton

Yale was held to 17 points in the first half and could not recover in time to put together a comeback in a 68-49 loss at Princeton on Jan. 30, 2010. Yoyo Greenfield scored 11 points and Haywood Wright added 10 for the Bulldogs in the loss. Melissa Colborne added eight points and eight rebounds, while Mady Gobrecht chipped in with nine points and five boards. The Tigers, who had four players in double figures, shot 49.1 percent (26-for-53) from the field. Addie Micir led all players with 16 points, while Lauren Edwards added 15 points. Devona Allgood posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Princeton converted 20 Yale turnovers into 22 points. 

 

Out For Season

Princeton sophomore forward Niveen Rasheed, the Ivy League Rookie of the Year last season, will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in her right knee during Princeton's 67-61 road win at Davidson on Dec. 29. Rasheed was leading the Ivy League in scoring at the time of her injury with 16.4 points per game. She was also second in the Ivy League in rebounding (7.3 rpg.). She was well on her way to another stellar season prior to the injury, winning the Ivy League Player of the Week twice in the first four weeks of the season.

 

Scouting Penn

Following its loss at Yale on Jan. 28, Penn has picked up its play on the offensive end of the floor. The Quakers have averaged 62.4 points in the five games since, going 3-2 in that stretch. The two losses included a 68-65 loss at Dartmouth and an 88-84 loss at Harvard in double overtime. The Quakers just completed a sweep of Cornell and Columbia last weekend, their first Ivy League weekend sweep since the 2008-09 season. With the sweep, the Quakers (9-12) matched the largest one-year turnaround in program history with seven more wins than last season (2-26). The Quakers are 2-0 at home against the Ivy League this season after opening the Ivy League season with four straight road games (1-3).

 

Series History

In a series that dates back to 1974-75, the two teams have met 67 times since. Yale holds a slim 34-33 lead in the series. Yale swept the season series in 2009-10, including a dominating 70-38 win at John J. Lee Amphitheater. Yale is 6-5 during Chris Gobrecht's tenure as Yale's head coach, but the Bulldogs have claimed five of the last six victories.

 

Fantastic Frosh

Penn freshman guard Alyssa Baron is already making an impact on the Ivy League. She poured in 38 points in Penn's double-overtime 88-84 loss to Harvard on Feb. 5, a Penn freshman record and the third-highest total for an Ivy League freshman. The performance gave her her second Ivy Player of the Week honor and sixth Rookie of the Week honor of the season. She currently leads the Ivy League in scoring (16.5 ppg.).

 

Defensive Pressure

Of the 333 Division I women's basketball teams in the nation, only two other teams — Princeton (1118) and Arkansas-Little Rock (1124) — have allowed fewer total points this season than Penn. Through 21 games, the Quakers have allowed 1,126 points. The Quakers rank 14th in the nation in points allowed per game (53.6 ppg.) and 27th in field goal percentage defense (35.6 percent). Penn has held its opponents to 40 points or fewer five times this season. 

 

Last Meeting

Yale improved to 3-0 in Ivy League play for the first time since the 2007-08 season with a 53-44 win over Penn at Yale on Jan. 28. Megan Vasquez scored 11 of her 16 points in the first half. Yale used a 5-for-12 effort from 3-point range to jump ahead by as many as six points in the opening half. Yale used a 12-6 run late in the second half to open up a 52-42 lead with 2:28 left and Penn couldn't respond. Penn freshman Alyssa Baron also scored 16 points.

 

Last Time At Penn

Yale held Penn to just 51 points and outrebounded the Quakers 35-27 en route to a 58-51 win at the Palestra in Philadelphia. Megan Vasquez led the Bulldogs with 16 points. Yoyo Greenfield added 14 points. The Bulldogs forced 21 turnovers and scored 16 points off of the Quakers' miscues.

 

More Honors For Graf

After leading Yale to wins over Harvard and Dartmouth, freshman forward Janna Graf was named the Ivy League's Rookie of the Week for the fourth time this season for her efforts. Graf was the catalyst in both wins.  She scored a game-high 21 points in Yale's 82-71 win over Harvard on Feb. 11. It was Yale's first win over Harvard since the final game of the 2007-08 season. In the win over Harvard, Graf recorded 20-plus points for the third time this season. She scored 12 of her game-high 21 points in the second half, going 6-for-8 from the floor in the half. She also finished with a career-high seven assists. In the 66-53 win over Dartmouth on Feb. 12, Graf scored 15 points, her ninth double-digit performance of the season, scoring 10 of her 15 points in the second half. She scored seven of those points in the first 4:34 of the half to help Yale open up a 13-point lead that effectively put the game out of reach. Graf's play in the two victories helped to lift Yale into second place in the Ivy League standings, just a half-game behind Princeton (17-4, 6-1 Ivy League).

 

Big Win Over Big Green

Yale completed a weekend sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth with a 66-53 win over the Big Green to cap off the WBCA Pink Zone weekend. Vasquez scored a game-high 21 points, while Graf added 15 points and eight rebounds to lift Yale to the victory. Mady Gobrecht added eight points, 11 rebounds and a game-high seven assists to help the Bulldogs improve to 7-1 in their last eight games at home. The weekend sweep leaves Yale in second place in the Ivy League, a half-game behind Princeton in the Ivy League standings. The two teams meet in Princeton on Friday with the winner claiming sole possession of first place. Princeton took over the top spot after sweeping Columbia and Cornell and with Harvard losing at Yale Friday and at Brown on Saturday.

 

Crimson Glory

Freshman forward Janna Graf scored a game-high 21 points, 12 in the second half, to lead Yale to an 82-71 win over visiting Harvard on Friday, Feb. 4. It was Harvard's first Ivy League loss of the season. It was Yale's first win over the Crimson since the final game of the 2007-08 season , a 64-58 victory on March 8, 2008. The Bulldogs outscored the Crimson 20-7 over the final 8:09 of the first half to 39-19 halftime lead. Yale forced 10 Harvard turnovers behind six steals and scored 14 points off of those turnovers. Defensively, it was one of the most dominating halves of the season for the Bulldogs. 

 

Introducing The Class of 2015

Four players will join the Bulldogs' roster as incoming freshman for the 2011-12 season. On Thursday, Jan. 27, the Bulldogs announced the additions of Sarah Halejian, Hayden Latham, Arrice Bryant and Natasha von Kaeppler. Halejian, a 5-9 guard from Franklin Lakes, N.J., is a two-time North Jersey Player of the Year and entered the season already atop her school's all-time scoring list. Latham, a 5-9 guard from Greenville, S.C., is a two-time South Carolina Coaches Association Women's Sports Player of the Year and a 1,000-point scorer. Bryant, a 6-2 center from Detroit, brings size and power to the roster along with a soft touch around the basket. She was ranked as the No. 39 center in the Class of 2015 by ESPN. Finally, von Kaeppler, a 6-0 forward from Palo Alto, Calif., will join her sister, Ericka, on the roster. Natasha is already her school's all-time leader in rebounds, double-doubles, field-goal percentage and steals.

 

WBCA Pink Zone

The Bulldogs' Feb. 12 game against Dartmouth was the main event of Yale's all-day WBCA Pink Zone event. The annual fund-raiser, formerly known as "Think Pink," is dedicated to raising awareness and donations for breast cancer research, with this year's proceeds being donated to the Smilow Cancer Hospital. While the final tally of the funds raised from the event is still being calculated, it is already considered the most successful Pink Zone weekend since Yale started participating four years ago. The festivities, which will take place throughout Payne Whitney Gymnasium, will once again include a "Battle of the Badges" competition featuring the Yale and New Haven police and fire departments. The Yale gymnastics team will host the Bulldog Invitational, while the women's and men's swim teams will compete against Brown.

 

Battle of the Badges Champions

As part of the Pink Zone festivities, the Yale University Athletic Department hosted the annual Battle of the Badges, a bench press fund-raiser to beat breast cancer. The competition consisted of teams of three, with each participant bench-pressing a percentage of his or her body weight. The team with the most total repetitions was declared the winner. There were three divisions in the competition: A Public Safety Division, comprised of teams of police, fire and emergency medical personnel; an Open Division, which featured several teams comprised of football players and other Athletics personnel; and a fraternity and sorority division. The Public Safety Division champion was the team of Dominic Vuolo, Palmer Gaines, and Dawud Amin from the New Haven Fire Department. The Open Division Champion was the team of Mykal Kuslis, Amelia Luciano, and Kate Miller. And finally, the Fraternity and Sorority Champion was the team of Manuel Giner, Adam Hockensmith, and Javier Zapata from the Yale Law School. Congratulations to the champions and all who participated in the competition. 

 

Breaking Out The Broom

With the 71-59 win at Brown, Yale earned its first sweep of the Bears since the 2007-08 season. Yale opened Ivy play with a 66-54 win at home. Megan Vasquez led all scorers with 18 points and five steals. Mady Gobrecht recorded her second consecutive double-double and third of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Yale has opened Ivy League play with the home-and-home series against Brown in every season since 2002-03.

 

Ivy League Honor For Vasquez

After scoring 18 points and collecting five steals in the Jan. 21 71-59 win at Brown, sophomore point guard Megan Vasquez was honored by the Ivy League as its Co-Player of the Week. It was her first Player of the Week award. She earned the Rookie of the Week honor three times last year on her way to finishing the year with a spot on the All-Rookie team. It was her first double-digit scoring performance since the Jan. 2 home win over Bucknell in which she scored 16 points.

 

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, had missed 13 games with her concussion prior to her return to the lineup last weekend, while Vasquez and von Kaeppler both returned to action against Sacred Heart.

 

Cleaning The Glass

In the Jan. 14 win over Brown, Yale outrebounded its opponent for just the second time this season (39-35). Mady Gobrecht was a big reason for the Bulldogs' big night under the glass. Gobrecht grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds in the victory. She secured her second double-double of the season in the win, adding 11 points to the 14 rebounds. She also blocked four shots. 

 

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. Megan Vasquez and Janna Graf each recorded career scoring highs. Vasquez scored 25 points. 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

The 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.

 

Graf Reaping The Rewards

After scoring a career-high 26 points to power Yale to a 66-54 win over Brown in the Ivy League opener on Jan. 14, freshman forward Janna Graf became the first Yale player to win both the Ivy League's Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week honors in the same week since Erica Davis won both awards on Jan. 12, 2004. Graf is the first player in the Ivy League to win both honors since Princeton's Addie Micir earned both awards on Jan. 14, 2008. Against Brown, Graf broke her previous high of 22 points. Although she was 10-for-17 overall against the Bears on Jan. 14, she was a stellar 5-for-7 in the second half, including 4-for-6 from 3-point range, Yale used an 18-3 run late in the second half to break the game open. Graf opened and closed the run with a 3-pointer and scored 10 of Yale's 18 points in the run. The effort gave Graf her first Ivy Player of the Week honor and her third Rookie of the Week award in the last four weeks.

 

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 then-No. 15/14 Florida State. Against Quinnipiac, Cashen tallied 20 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists. Graf averaged 16.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in the two games. She scored a career-high 22 points and grabbed five rebounds in the victory over Florida State and tallied 11 points and nine rebounds against Quinnipiac. Vasquez averaged 22.5 points in the two wins.

 

Dish And Assist

Normally, the assists category is dominated by the guards, but in the Ivy League, two Yale post players have found their way onto the leaderboard. Junior forward Michelle Cashen and senior forward Mady Gobrecht are among the top 10 in the Ivy League in assists. Gobrecht is third in the conference with 3.1 apg., while Cashen is fifth with 3.1 apg. In fact, Yale players take up three of the top five places on the top 10 list. Sophomore guard Aarica West is second in the league with 3.8 assists 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 to join the Yale women's basketball team 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.

 

Crimson Takes The Lead

Now through the midpoint of the Ivy season, Princeton (17-4, 6-1) has reclaimed the top spot in the League standings. The Tigers moved to 9-0 at home with two wins last week and look to add to that streak against Yale (10-12, 6-2) and Brown (7-15, 3-5) this Friday and Saturday. The Bulldogs, just a half-game back on the Tigers, seek to avenge a 52-37 loss suffered against Princeton in New Haven, Conn. Elsewhere, third-place Harvard (13-8, 5-2) looks to get back on the winning track, hosting Cornell (5-17, 2-6) and Columbia (5-17, 4-4). Dartmouth (5-16, 1-6) will also host the Lions and Big Red while Penn (9-12, 3-4) takes on the Bears and Bulldogs at The Palestra.

 

2010-11 Ivy League Preseason Poll

Voted on by a panel of Ivy media and women's basketball sports information directors, Princeton received 16 of 17 first-place votes and 135 points and are expected to repeat as the Ivy League champion.

 

Predicted Order of Finish (First-Place Votes in Parentheses)

           School                Points

  1. Princeton (16)      135
  2. Harvard (1)          115
  3. Dartmouth             96
  4. Yale                      84
  5. Columbia                73
  6. Brown                     50
  7. Cornell                    39
  8. Penn                       19

 

Double-Double Trouble

In games played through Feb. 12, 22 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. Seven Ivy players have tallied at least two double-doubles, including Gobrecht (3). Columbia's Kathleen Barry leads all Ivy League players with six double-doubles. Dartmouth's Brittany Smith had four and Princeton's Niveen Rasheed had three before both suffered season-ending injuries.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity