The Yale women's basketball team closes out the 2010-11 regular-season schedule with a pair of Ivy League home games against Columbia and Cornell. The Bulldogs will celebrate its two seniors, captain Yoyo Greenfield and Mady Gobrecht, this weekend, with Senior Night ceremonies taking place prior to Saturday's game against Cornell. The Bulldogs also enter the weekend with a chance to make history. Yale remains in the hunt with Princeton and Harvard for the Ivy League championship. Yale has only won one Ivy League title, in 1979, and has never won the Ivy League's regular-season title.
While Columbia is 6-20 so far this season, the record is somewhat deceiving since the Lions started their season with 13 straight losses. However, all of the Lions' success has come at home. The Lions are 6-3 at home, 5-2 in home Ivy League games, but they are winless in 17 games played outside of Levien Gymnasium. The Lions have also lost five of their last six games, with the lone win coming last weekend over visiting Penn. Columbia's lineup features a 1,000-point scorer in Lauren Dwyer (1,037), who is also second in program history in career blocks (135).
Yale holds a 38-15 edge in a series that dates back to 1975-76 and includes four wins over Barnard College from 1975-1980. Yale and Columbia did not start competing until the Lions' jump to Division I at the start of the 1986-87 season, and Yale owns a 34-15 advantage beginning with that season. Since 1999-2000, Yale is 4-7 in games at Columbia and 8-3 in games at home. Yale has won four of the last seven meetings. However, over the past two seasons, the two teams have split the season series, with the home teams winning each of the four games. The Bulldogs are 4-7 against the Lions during Chris Gobrecht's tenure as head coach at Yale.
Last Time At Yale
Despite 19 turnovers that led to 30 Columbia points, Yale held on for an 81-74 win over the Lions in New Haven on Feb. 6, 2010. The Bulldogs had four players that scored in double figures, led by Yoyo Greenfield, who finished with 20 points and four assists. Megan Vasquez scored 19 points to go with seven assists, while Michelle Cashen added 15 points and nine rebounds. Melissa Colborne chipped in with 10 points. Judie Lomax recorded 20 points, eight rebounds and seven steals to pace the Lions. Melissa Shafer came off the bench to score 13 points.
Of the 12 players on the Columbia roster, 12 are either freshmen or sophomores. The five freshmen are leading the charge. Courtney Bradford, Blaine Frohlich, Brianna Orlich, Nicole Santucci and Taylor Ward account for 33.1 percent of the Lions' offense (480 of 1450 points), 31.8 percent of their rebounds (292 of 918 rebounds), and 40.1 percent of the total assists (117 of 292 assists).
Senior Kathleen Barry was named to the Capital One Academic All-America First Team on Feb. 24. She is the first women's basketball player at Columbia to earn the honor. She maintains a 3.99 GPA as an Economics/Mathematics and Spanish major and has earned a perfect 4.0 GPA in five of her seven semesters at Columbia.
Cornell started its season 1-9, including a six-game losing streak. However, the Big Red suffered an even bigger losing streak through the month of February. Cornell lost eight in a row, snapping the skid in their last game, a 57-51 home win over Penn on Senior Night. The Big Red is 0-12 in games away from Newman Arena this season. Cornell's leading scorer is sophomore Clare Fitzpatrick, the team's only double-digit scorer. She has averaged 11.2 points per game with 16 double-digit performances, three double-doubles and three games with 10 or more rebounds.
In a series that dates back to 1974-75, the two teams will meet for the 65th time on Saturday. Yale leads the all-time series by a 42-22 margin, including a sweep of the season series in 2009-10. The Big Red own a 13-8 advantage since 2000, which includes seven straight wins from the 2000-01 season to the first meeting of the 2003-04 season. Yale followed that run with five wins in the next six meetings, but then lost five straight to Cornell before earning the sweep last season. Yale is 5-6 against Cornell during Chris Gobrecht's tenure as head coach.
Three of Cornell's top five scorers are freshman. Allyson DiMagno is second on the team with 7.9 ppg., while Stephanie Long (7.6 ppg.) is third on the team and Shelby Lyman (5.5 ppg.) is fourth. All three have cracked the Big Red's starting lineup and are expected to start against Yale on Saturday.
Last Meeting At Yale
Eleven of the 12 Yale players who made an appearance in the game scored, and six of them scored at least eight points in a balanced offensive effort that led to a 74-50 win over Cornell on Feb. 5, 2010, in New Haven. Mady Gobrecht led the way with 13 points and five rebounds, while Melissa Colborne had 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Michelle Cashen recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Yoyo Greenfield, Haywood Wright, and Megan Vasquez each chipped in eight points for the Bulldogs. Allie Fedorowicz scored a game-high 20 points to lead Cornell. Clare Fitzpatrick added 10 points.
Of the 12 players on the roster, Cornell is relying on five freshmen and four sophomores in 2010-11. The Big Red have only one senior, Susie Doyle, and a pair of juniors, Allie Munson and Maka Anyanwu. Six players on the roster entered the season with no varsity experience, including the five freshmen and Anyanwu, who is a transfer from Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore.
Three Cornell players hail from the Nutmeg State, led by junior Allie Munson, who is from Southington. Sophomore Clare Fitzpatrick is from Southbury, while freshman Stephanie Long is from Norwich.
With two games left, Yale (13-13, 9-3 Ivy League) remains in the hunt for the Ivy League championship, which would be their first since 1979. However, Princeton (10-1 Ivy League) maintains a commanding lead in the race and can clinch its second straight Ivy title, and the Ivy's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament, with a pair of wins this weekend. Yale's only chance to claim at least a share of the title becomes reality if it wins both games and Princeton loses at least two of its remaining three games. If Yale wins both and Princeton loses all three, Yale would win the Ivy League title. The race for second place is an even tighter battle. Harvard has three games remaining, but all three are on the road. The Bulldogs look to have the advantage, closing out play at home against Columbia and Cornell, while the Crimson must hit the road for three games at Penn, Princeton and Dartmouth. Should Yale and Harvard win out and finish off Ivy play with identical 11-3 records, the League's tie-breaker formula will be utilized to break a tie for second place and determine the Ivy's automatic WNIT bid. The first determining factor, head-to-head competition, goes in favor of Yale, which beat Harvard twice this season. Therefore Yale would receive the WNIT automatic berth.
Ivy League Honor For Vasquez
After scoring 23 points and collecting seven rebounds in the Feb. 26 78-64 win at Harvard, sophomore guard Megan Vasquez was honored by the Ivy League as its Co-Player of the Week. It was her second Player of the Week award this season. 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 fifth 20-plus-point performance of the season and third in the last five games.
Historic Weekend In Cambridge
Yale's 78-64 victory over Harvard was a win of historic proportions on Feb. 26. It was Yale's first win at Harvard since Feb. 17, 2001. The win also gave Yale its first season sweep of Harvard since the 1993-94 season. The Bulldogs earned an 82-71 win over Harvard at Yale on Feb. 11. And finally, it is the first time that Yale has won more than eight Ivy League games since a 10-4 campaign in 1988-89 and the third time overall. The Bulldogs went 9-5 in 1986-87 and have finished 8-6 in league competition five times until this season.
More Honors For Graf
After leading Yale to wins over Harvard and Dartmouth two weeks ago, 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 victories. 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 also finished with eight rebounds.
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.
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.
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.
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 at Cornell on Feb. 4, while Vasquez and von Kaeppler both returned to action against Sacred Heart. Sophomore Alicia Seelaus missed six games with a broken nose, while sophomore forward Verena Lehner has missed time with a back injury.
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 Ivy League with 3.2 apg., while Cashen is tied for 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 3.7 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).
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.
Three-Team Race To The Finish
The final full weekend of Ivy League play is on tap, followed by two travel partner match-ups on Tuesday to wrap up the 2010-11 regular-season. Princeton (21-4, 10-1) can secure at least a share of its second consecutive Ivy League title with a win Friday night against Dartmouth (7-18, 3-8) and potentially an outright championship either Friday or Saturday (against Harvard). The battle for second place, and the League's automatic WNIT bid is highly contested between Yale (13-13, 9-3) and the Crimson (16-9, 8-3). The Bulldogs close out the regular season by hosting Columbia (6-20, 5-6) and Cornell (6-20, 3-9). Harvard visits Penn (10-15, 4-7) and Princeton this weekend, then closes out play at Dartmouth Tuesday. Princeton and Penn also meet on Tuesday as the matinee contest in a doubleheader with the men's teams 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)
In games played through Feb. 27, 24 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. Twelve 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