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Vasquez, Graf, Halejian Power Yale Past Bucknell

Megan Vasquez. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Megan Vasquez. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Trio Account for 43 Points in Road Rout of Bison


LEWISBURG, Pa. — With Ivy League play 10 days away, there is still work to do, but the Yale University women's basketball team is starting to put the pieces in place so that it will be in top form when it visits Brown next week to begin its Ivy League schedule.

After a grinding, 1-point win over Army on Sunday, the Bulldogs traveled to Bucknell Tuesday, and while the Bison proved to be a tough opponent, the Bulldogs showed they were up for the challenge.

Junior guard Megan Vasquez scored a game-high 17 points behind an efficient 7-for-12 shooting performance to lead Yale to a 69-48 win over Bucknell at Sojka Pavilion Tuesday night.

Sophomore forward Janna Graf tallied 13 points, five rebounds and a pair of blocks, while freshman guard Sarah Halejian added 13 points and four assists.

The Bulldogs (7-6) put together their best shooting performance of the season, hitting 49.1 percent of their shots (26-of-53), including a season-best 54.5 percent from 3-point range (6-for-11). The Bulldogs were especially efficient in the second half, draining 13 of their 19 shots (68.4 percent).

As good as the final score looked for Yale when the final buzzer sounded, Bucknell (2-13) showed early on that it was not going to give in without a fight. The two teams traded baskets over the course of the opening 5:13, before things began falling in Yale's favor. Bucknell took an 8-7 lead on a fast-break layup by Alyssa Dunn with 14:47 left in the half, and that was the last lead of the game for the Bison.

Yale responded with a 9-0 run behind five points from Vasquez and two each from Graf and sophomore forward Alexandra Osborn-Jones.

Yale maintained its advantage throughout the remainder of the half, but Bucknell cut the deficit to three points on a layup by Rachel Voss to pull the Bison to within 22-19 with 5:25 left.

Five quick points on a Halejian 3-pointer and a Graf layup allowed Yale to extend the lead to 27-19. Bucknell with responded with a short burst of its own with a 3-pointer by Shelby Romine and a jumper by Felicia Mgbada to trim the deficit to 27-24 with 2:58 left, but Mgbada's basket was the last for the Bison in the half.

Yale closed the half with back-to-back threes from Vasquez and Graf to go into the locker room with a 33-24 halftime lead.

Vasquez opened the second half with a layup to jumpstart a short 6-2 run that extended Yale's lead to 39-26 and Bucknell never cut the deficit back into single digits the rest of the way.

The Bulldogs pulled away from the Bison through the first 16 minutes of the second half, opening up a lead that reached 28 points (67-39) with 3:53 left, but the Bison were persistent down the stretch and closed the game with a 9-2 run, but it was too late to make a difference in the final result.

The most encouraging signs for the Bulldogs heading into the Ivy League season came under the basket. For the fourth time this season, but just the second since returning from the Thanksgiving week trip to Texas, Yale outrebounded its opponent. The Bulldogs outworked the Bison under the glass for a 36-32 rebounding advantage. Yale also outscored Bucknell 34-26 in the paint.

There were also areas that still need work before the Bulldogs head to Brown next week. The Bulldogs committed 25 turnovers in the game, leading to 27 Bucknell points.

However, with eight days of practice and one more non-league game, there is plenty of time for the Bulldogs to put everything together before making the trip to Providence to begin their quest for their first Ivy League crown since 1979.

Yale closed out its non-league schedule against Baruch on Sunday.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity