Bulldogs To Pay Tribute To Their Two Seniors Before Taking On Cornell
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball at Yale University, has celebrated a host of Senior Night ceremonies throughout her career, but none will be as special as the one she will take part in tonight.
Tonight, prior to the game against Cornell, the Yale women's basketball program will honor two seniors who have given a great deal to the program and to Yale University throughout their four years.
Yoyo Greenfield, the 33rd captain in Yale Women's Basketball history, and Mady Gobrecht will make their final appearance in the John J. Lee Amphitheater this weekend. Both players have made outstanding contributions to the Yale Basketball program during their tenures with the team and saved their best, on and off the court, for their final seasons in a Yale uniform.
With a win tonight, combined with a Harvard loss at Princeton, Greenfield and Gobrecht could lead their teammates into the WNIT for the first time in the program's 38-year history. With the win and Harvard loss, Yale would clinch at least a tie for second place in the Ivy League. The second-place team earns an automatic bid into the WNIT. If there is a tie, Yale would win the tiebreaker based on its season sweep of Harvard.
"It is just now hitting us that we could be playing during Spring Break instead of going away," Mady Gobrecht said. "We're going to feel really great on Saturday night if we win and earn a trip to the tournament. That will be something we will never forget."
The two seniors proved to be the building blocks for the women's basketball team's rise to being a contender for the Ivy League championship. Both players have established themselves as mantles of leadership during their time at Yale University.
"What has distinguished Yoyo and Mady, and Lindsay Williams, who was originally in that class and was also an outstanding player, is they really represented the original prototype of what we would love to see Yale women's basketball become," Coach Gobrecht said. "They are serious students. They care about school and are very involved at Yale and in the community, but their basketball really, really matters. They devoted a lot of time to it. They have improved themselves a great deal as players. They know how to have fun with it but they are serious about the team's success and their contributions to the team's success. They have probably been as good of a model as we could have of what we want the program to be about."
While tonight's ceremony will celebrate the careers of Greenfield and Gobrecht as the program's only seniors, there will be thoughts of the other three players who came in as part of the freshman class of 2011. Lindsay Williams, Victoria Perez and Kathleen Clement were all originally part of the Class of 2011, but due to injuries and other factors, they are not a part of the team this year and will not be honored tonight, but they are still in the thoughts of the seniors will will be the recipients of tonight's tribute.
"There were five of us in the class at one point and now there is just the two of us," Mady Gobrecht said. "To think back, Lindsay was definitely a big part of this team our freshman year with the way she played in the post. I don't think at the time I would have ever thought that she wouldn't be here with us in our senior year. It is pretty cool that Yoyo and I have gotten this far together. We are best friends so I think sharing Senior Night together will be something special."
Greenfield will earn her degree in Political Science and has plans to attend law school after graduation. In her basketball career at Yale, she has appeared in 88 games in her four seasons, including 64 starts. In her career, she has made 96 3-point field goals, which ranks seventh all-time in the program's history. For her career, Greenfield's current 78.9 percentage rate at the free-throw line (195-for-247) is the fifth-best percentage in program history. In her junior season, she finished third among Ivy League players in free-throw percentage (80.5, 70-for-87) and seventh in 3-point field goals per game (1.4). She received a Bulldog Basketball Award in her junior season as the team's top free-throw shooter. Although she missed 13 games this season due to injury, she returned in time to spark the Bulldogs on their recent burst into the hunt for the Ivy League title and postseason tournament chase. During her freshman season, she was named an Ivy League Rookie of the Week for the week of Jan. 21, 2008, after leading the Bulldogs' second-half comeback in a 52-45 win at Brown that snapped a 15-game conference road losing streak, scoring 11 points and a career-high six rebounds in that game.
It has only been the last month that Greenfield has truly felt like the team's captain on and off the court. She suffered a concussion during practice in the last week of November when she and sophomore guard Megan Vasquez bumped heads during a drill. Vasquez also suffered a concussion, but she returned after missing only two games. Greenfield had to sit out 13 games because she could not rid herself of the symptoms from the concussion.
"It was obviously a huge letdown for me, especially since I didn't think it was that serious. I kept practicing after it happened that day," Greenfield said. "It just really sucked. I never got better. It's not like an ankle sprain or a hurt knee that I could play through. I was just not myself. That's probably the hardest part. I wasn't as helpful on the sidelines and cheering people on because I felt completely out of it. It's been rough but I am really glad that we had Mady because she stepped up big time with her leadership. I'm also happy that I got better in time to help this team over the last few weeks in the Ivy League games."
"It hurt on a real personal level to watch Yoyo go through this season because she is Mady's best friend so she is like a second daughter to me," Coach Gobrecht said. "It was just really hard to see her, knowing how much she wanted to be out there. I thought that she continued to do all she could to contribute in every way that she could. And I think that it is no coincidence that we have really started to catch our stride since she has come back from the concussion."
Gobrecht will graduate with a degree in Psychology. She hopes to work for Teach for America, a non-profit organization that strives to provide top-notch educational opportunities to low-income communities. If that doesn't work out, Gobrecht said she will look to join the coaching ranks.
She has played in every one of Yale's 111 games during her career, starting in 108 of those contests. During her four years in a Yale uniform, she has recorded a total of 929 points, 702 rebounds and 328 assists, finishing fifth all-time among Yale's career leaders in assists. She has saved her best basketball for her final season with the Bulldogs. In Ivy League competition this season, she is in the top five in the Ivy League in rebounding (first, 8.3 rpg.), defensive rebounds (first, 6.7 drpg.), assist-to-turnover ratio (fourth, 1.1)and blocks (fifth, 1.2 bpg.), and she is in the top 10 in the Ivy League in scoring (ninth, 12.4 ppg.), assists (fifth, 3.2 apg.), and field-goal percentage (seventh, .445). She has posted three double-doubles this season and eight double-doubles in her Yale career. She is currently averaging a career-best 12.0 points per game. In her junior season, she finished in the top 10 among Ivy League players in blocks (seventh, 1.2 bpg.), assists (ninth, 2.6 apg.), offensive rebounding (ninth, 2.2 orpg.), defensive rebounding (ninth, 3.9 drpg.), total rebounds rebounding (10th, 6.1 rpg.), and field-goal percentage (10th, 43.0, 92-for-214).
"Mady has been outstanding in her senior year," Coach Gobrecht said. "She is playing the best basketball of her career. Mady has had to learn how to channel her passion in a more productive way, which is why she has played so well in her senior year. That has been the key difference in why she has played so well."
She has looked forward to this final game because of the Senior Night ceremonies. She and her mom have seen plenty of these ceremonies, but tonight will be different for both of them.
"She will be more emotional than usual and I will be more emotional than most players, but it will be a special moment for both of us," Mady Gobrecht said.
They both will certainly relish the moment, but the experience of playing for your mother and coaching your daughter was not always a breeze for either of them, but neither would trade in the experience that the last four years has given them.
"I have to honestly say that I am probably going to grieve more that I've lost a 6-foot-2, passing, rebounding, scoring forward than I will that my daughter is not playing for me anymore," Coach Gobrecht said. "It was just the greatest experience in the world and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but it is OK. I think it will hit me more that night how special it was to have that opportunity. It will be with us for the rest of our lives."
It will be sad to see them both close out their careers at Yale, but they are leaving the program in a better place than where it was when they first arrived in campus four years ago.
"This is the best leadership across the board that I think we have ever had from a senior class," Coach Gobrecht said. "One of the key things has been that they have worked together to make this whole thing work. They actually have lifted each other up through their entire experience at Yale. They brought the heart and soul to the game during their time here at Yale and they are models for leadership for our future upperclassmen."
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity