Seven Bulldogs Score At Least Eight Points In Balanced Offensive Performance
HACKENSACK, N.J. — The Yale University women's basketball team used a balanced scoring performance and tenacious defensive effort to remain undefeated on the young 2011-12 season.
Senior captain Michelle Cashen scored 10 of her team-high 12 points in the first half to lead Yale to an 80-51 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson in which seven Bulldogs scored at least eight points at the Rothman Center Monday night.
"Everybody on this team is working hard," said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "I am just so pleased with the work ethic that this team has shown this early in the season. They inspire each other with their work ethic. Every player wants to work hard because the player next to her is working hard.
"I am really surprised that we are at the point we are offensively. I didn't think we would click quite as much this early. I thought we would be a good offensive team because we have a lot of kids that can score and we have excellent teamwork, but it is clicking a lot better than I thought it would this early."
In a homecoming of sorts, freshman guard Sarah Halejian scored her first points of her Yale career. The Wyckoff, N.J., native scored all nine of her points in the second half in front of a boisterous crowd. Of the 732 people in attendance, roughly half was cheering for the Bulldogs and the hometown favorite.
"I have been looking forward to this for a while," Halejian said. "I know everyone at home had it marked on their calendar, so it was really great to see everyone. I am so lucky to have so much support from my family, friends, and coaches. Everyone has been so supportive of me, so it doesn't surprise me that they were all there."
After missing the season opener with a foot injury, Aarica West returned to the lineup and also scored nine points. Allie Messimer also scored nine points, while sophomore guard Amanda Tyson added eight points.
Trailing 12-6 after the opening five minutes of play, Yale used a 17-2 run to pull ahead 23-14. The Bulldogs maintained that cushion through the remainder of the half and went in to the halftime break leading 34-24 despite seeing two of their starters — Vasquez and sophomore Janna Graf — being held scoreless in the opening 20 minutes.
The Bulldogs really weren't challenged the rest of the way except for the opening minutes of the second half. Fairleigh Dickinson (0-2) opened the second half with an 8-2 run to trim Yale's lead to 36-32, but Vasquez drained a 3-pointer to jumpstart a 13-4 run that gave Yale a 49-36 lead and put the game out of reach.
The defensive effort was even more impressive. Yale held FDU to just four points over the final 7:01 of the game, forcing a total of 30 turnovers by the Knights' offense.
"A big part of how these guys get it done is they wear out other teams," Gobrecht said. "That was certainly part of the game plan, to just go at them and try to wear them out. We have the depth to do it. It's really nice to be able have people come in off the bench and do such a good job. We definitely picked it up on the boards in the second half."
The Bulldogs now have a chance to improve to 3-0 when they take on Marist on Friday in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. If Yale returns to New Haven with the win, it will be the first 3-0 start to a season since they opened the 1998-99 season with a 4-0 start.
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity