Bulldogs' Defense Shuts Down Quakers, Ivy Leading Scorer Baron
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — The Yale University women's basketball team needed someone to take charge if there were any hopes of keeping pace in the Ivy League standings. Against Penn on Saturday, the Bulldogs didn't get one player to take charge. They got two.
Sophomore guard Megan Vasquez and senior forward Mady Gobrecht combined to score 26 of Yale's first 29 points of the second half to propel Yale to a 66-53 win over Penn in Ivy League action at the Palestra Saturday night.
"Your point guard and your post, if you can get a good inside-outside game going, they both helped out each other get good looks," said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "Penn is a very good defensive team. I thought we caught them a little flat-footed tonight, but they are still a good defensive team. I was very pleased with our team's ability to score against them."
With the win, Yale improves to 11-13 overall, 7-3 in the Ivy League. The Bulldogs remain in third place in the Ivy League standings, a half-game behind Harvard (15-8, 7-2) and a game and a half behind first-place Princeton (19-4, 8-1).
Vasquez scored 14 of her game-high 21 points and Gobrecht scored 12 of her 20 points in the second half to help Yale open up a 27-point lead, 60-33, with 5:59 left in the game. But the Bulldogs had to hold off a late charge by Penn to secure the victory. Penn outscored Yale 20-6 over the final 5:59, but could not complete the comeback.
Yale's defense held Penn freshman Alyssa Baron, the Ivy League's leading scorer, to just nine points. Baron was averaging 16.8 points per game prior to Saturday's game. Penn had only player score in double figures. Brianna Bradford came off the bench to score 13 points, with 10 of those points coming in the Quakers' late surge.
Yale, which never trailed, opened the game with a 9-2 run, forcing seven Penn turnovers in that stretch. Penn trimmed the early deficit to 9-5, and stayed within four points for a 3:04 span but Yale pulled away with a 15-4 run to open up a 28-13 lead. Penn scored the final four points of the half on back-to-back layups from Jerin Smith and Erin Power to cut Yale's lead to 28-17 at the halftime break.
"We jumped on them early and I thought for about 35 minutes, we played about as good a basketball game as you could play," Coach Gobrecht said. "I thought this would be one of the toughest games that we have played all year. I am very happy to come out of here with the win."
Penn scored the first four points of the second half on a 3-pointer by Jess Knapp and a free throw by Knapp a minute later. From that point, however, Mady Gobrecht took over. She scored the next seven Yale points to fuel a 20-2 run that also included threes from Allie Messimer and Yoyo Greenfield followed by back-to-back layups from Messimer and Gobrecht that put the Bulldogs ahead 48-23.
Penn snapped the run with a pair of free throws from Caroline Nicholson, but then Vasquez took control, scoring 12 straight Yale points to help the Bulldogs extend its lead to 57-31.
"Obviously we were very disappointed in the loss to Princeton Friday night," Coach Gobrecht said. "I think the only silver lining to come out of that game, if there was a silver lining, was we were such a no-show in that game that it didn't take anything out of us. We were a pretty fresh Saturday team and I think that showed in our transition game and our defense."
Yale remains on the road for a trip to Dartmouth on Friday at 7 p.m. and a showdown at Harvard on Saturday, which tips off at 6 p.m.
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity