Yale (9-6, 1-0 Ivy League) welcomes Brown to John J. Lee Amphitheater Friday to close out the season series. Yale, which is currently one of three unbeaten teams in Ivy League play, is looking to complete the season sweep of Brown for the second straight season and for the third time in five seasons. The Bulldogs opened their Ivy League season last week with a 75-65 win at Brown. The Bulldogs have won four straight games and are looking to remain perfect in 2012 by extending a winning streak that began with a New Year's Day home win over Army. Junior guard Megan Vasquez continues to lead the Bulldogs with 14.2 points per game and now stands just 99 points away from 1,000 career points. Sophomore Janna Graf has continued her solid play of late and is second on the team in scoring (10.7 ppg.) and leads Yale in rebounding (5.7 rpg.). Brown has lost two in a row after Yale snapped its six-game winning streak.
Brown is one of five Ivy League teams that are all 0-1 to start the League's 14-game season. Brown had won six straight games before falling to Yale last week and are now riding a two-game losing streak heading into Friday's rematch at Yale. The Bears closed out non-league play on Monday with an 81-74 loss to Holy Cross. The Bears are now 9-6 overall, 0-1 in Ivy League play. Despite the two losses, Brown is the third-best defensive team in terms of points allowed in the Ivy League this season. The Bears have held their opponents to just 58.3 points per game. Junior guard Sheila Dixon leads the Bears in scoring (14.2 ppg.), rebounding (6.2 rpg.) and steals (32). Senior captain Hannah Passafuime is second on the team in scoring (12.6 ppg.) and rebounding (5.4 rpg.).
In a series that dates back to Yale's first season as a varsity program in 1973-74, the two teams have met 73 times prior to Friday's game at Yale. Brown owns a 42-31 advantage in the series. However, Yale is 8-5 against Brown during Chris Gobrecht's seven seasons as Yale's head coach, including an even 4-2 at home. Yale is looking to complete its second straight season sweep and third in the last five years. Last season, Yale pulled off the first season sweep of Brown since the 2007-08 season. It was the third time that either team swept the two-game season series during Chris Gobrecht's tenure as Yale's head coach. Brown swept the season series in Gobrecht's first season at Yale (2005-06). Brown has not won at Yale since a 64-62 win on Jan. 16, 2009, in the first meeting of the 2008-09 season.
Yale sophomore guard Janna Graf had the best game of her short career in the first meeting with Brown last year. On Jan. 14, 2011, she recorded career-highs in points (26), field goals made (10), attempts (17), 3-pointers made (6) and attempts (12). Senior Mady Gobrecht was the only other Bulldog to score in double figures. She finished with a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds, including 11 defensive rebounds. She also had four blocks. In the rematch at Brown, Yale's Megan Vasquez took control of the game and tallied a game-high 18 points with six rebounds, while Gobrecht recorded her second consecutive double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Michelle Cashen added 10 points and seven rebounds.
Five in the Book
It is a pretty safe assumption that Brown's starting lineup is already set for Friday's game against Yale. In fact, Bears head coach Jean Marie Burr has stuck with the same five players at tip off in every game this season. Guards Hannah Passafuime, Sheila Dixon and Lauren Clarke, and forwards Aileen Daniels and Lindsay Nickel have started all 15 games for the Bears. All five are averaging at least 9.0 points per game. Brown is used to rolling out those five players for the opening tip. The same five players started 20 of Brown's 28 games together last season. Only injury or illness prevented that combination from starting every game last season.
Hannah Passafuime has scored in double figures in 11 of Brown's 15 games this season, including a season-high 18 points. Sheila Dixon has been just as consistent, scoring in double digits in 11 of 15 games as well, including a 26-point performance against Providence College.
Brown's Jonathan Parsons, a third-year assistant coach for the Bears, has strong ties to Connecticut. The 2008 graduate of Sacred Heart was a four-year student manager for the men's basketball team while he was a student there. He then served as a volunteer assistant coach at the University of New Haven for a year prior to joining the staff at Brown. He also was an assistant coach for the Connecticut Breeze U-16 AAU program.
The Quest for Ivy Glory
The quest for the Ivy League championship is now under way. As the only Division I conference without a postseason tournament, the League's 14-game conference slate becomes the "tournament" to determine which Ivy team wins the title and earns an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament. The team that finishes the season in second place earns the Ivy League's automatic bid to the Women's National Invitational Tournament. Yale earned its first-ever WNIT bid last season after finishing a program-best 10-4 in league play. The Bulldogs begin Ivy League play at Brown on Friday. Princeton is the two-time defending Ivy League champion. Yale is pursuing its first Ivy League championship since the 1978-79 season, when the league champion was determined in a mid-season tournament.
A Great Ivy Start
Four players scored in double figures to lead Yale to a 75-65 win over Brown in the Ivy League opener for both teams in Providence on Jan. 13. Megan Vasquez scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Bulldogs. Sarah Halejian scored a career-high 18 points. Amanda Tyson scored 10 of her 12 points in the second half, while Janna Graf added 10 points. Brown outscored Yale 21-9 over the final 11:21 of the first half to go into the locker room with a 32-31 halftime lead. It was the sixth time this season that Yale had trailed at halftime, but it was only the first time that Yale had won a game when trailing at the half. The Bears led 47-42 with 11:37 left when the Bulldogs pushed one final time and took control for good with a 10-0 run. The Bulldogs later used a 10-4 run to open up a 68-61 lead with 1:16 left that secured Yale's first win of the Ivy League season. Yale outrebounded Brown 43-35, including a whopping 21-6 advantage on the offensive glass. The rebounding advantage allowed Yale to outscore Brown 26-6 on second-chance opportunities.
Tyson's Punch Out
Sophomore guard Amanda Tyson came off the bench to record 10 of her 12 points and seven of her game-high eight rebounds in the second half to spark a second-half rally that lifted Yale to the 75-65 win over Brown in Providence in the Ivy League opener for both teams. Tyson's eight rebounds included seven on the offensive glass. The 12 points, eight rebounds and seven offensive rebounds are all new career-high marks for Tyson. She also set new career-high marks in field goals made (4), free throws made (4) and free throws attempted (5).
Pair of Awards
After scoring a career-high 18 points to go with three steals in Yale's 75-65 win at Brown on Friday, freshman guard Sarah Halejian was recognized by the Ivy League as its Co-Rookie of the Week. Halejian scored 13 of her 18 points to help lead Yale's second-half comeback in the victory. Halejian shared the week's Rookie of the Week honor with Dartmouth's Tia Dawson. It is Halejian's second straight Ivy League Rookie of the Week honor and third this season. In addition to Halejian's League honor, junior guard Vasquez was named the Ivy League's Player of the Week by CollegeSportsMadness.com. Vasquez scored a game-high 23 points and pulled down five rebounds in Yale's win at Brown. Vasquez, an All-Ivy First Team selection last season, scored 20 points for the fifth time this season.
Milestone Watch for Vasquez
Junior guard Megan Vasquez has now scored 901 career points. She needs just 99 points to reach 1,000 career points. She has now had five 20-point outings this season, including Holy Cross (23), Marist (21), Houston (22), Boston University (22) and Brown (23). She scored 20 or more points five times previously in her career, all coming last season. Vasquez scored 322 points in her freshman season and 366 points last season. If she approaches her average of 344 points from her first two seasons, she should reach the 1,000-point milestone at some point during the Ivy League season. In doing so, Vasquez will become the 17th player in Yale's history to reach 1,000 career points. The last Bulldog to reach the milestone was Melissa Colborne, who closed out her career with 1,418 points, fifth on Yale's all-time scoring list. If Vasquez continues to maintain her 344-point pace, she would finish in sixth place on Yale's all-time list with 1,376 career points.
Introducing the Class of 2016
Four players will join the Bulldogs' roster as incoming freshman for the 2012-13 season. On Wednesday, Jan. 18, the Bulldogs announced the additions of guards Whitney Wyckoff and Nyasha Sarju, forward Meredith Boardman, and center Elizabeth "Emmy" Allen, who will all join the Bulldogs' roster as freshmen this fall. Allen is a 6-foot-3 center from Overland Park, Kan., who is rated as the 27th top post player in the country by ESPN. Boardman, a 6-foot-1 forward from Oak Park, Ill., who was listed among the Chicago area's top 50 players by both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune. Sarju, a 6-foot-tall shooting guard from Seattle, Wash., who was listed as the 56th best wing player in the country by ESPN. Wyckoff, a 5-foot-9 guard from West Chester, Ohio, was averaging 12.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.3 steals, 2.3 assists and 2.0 blocks per game through the first four games of the season at Lakota East high School before suffering a season-ending knee injury. She is expected to return to the court before her arrival at Yale. She was listed as the 77th-ranked off-guard in the country by the College Girls Basketball Report. Wyckoff's sister, Brooke, played nine seasons in the WNBA with the Connecticut Sun, Chicago Sky and Orlando Miracle and is currently an assistant coach at Florida State.
Yale Athletics Pink Zones
Yale's game against Columbia on Saturday, Feb. 11 is the main event of Yale's two-day event that is now called "Yale Athletics Pink Zones." The annual fund-raiser, in conjunction with the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's "Play 4Kay" initiative, is dedicated to raising awareness and donations for breast cancer research, with Yale's proceeds once again being donated to the Smilow Cancer Hospital. Last year, Yale hosted the most successful Pink Zone weekend since Yale started participating five 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 squash teams will compete against Ivy League rival Harvard on Sunday, Feb. 12. Check YaleBulldogs.com for the full schedule.
Yale on YES
The YES Network, the broadcast home of the 27-time World Series Champion New York Yankees, will feature Yale's men's and women's basketball teams in a two-game, winter television package. The Yale women's basketball team tips off the Yale on YES package with its Ivy League contest against Dartmouth at the John J. Lee Amphitheater on Friday, Feb. 17. The Yale men's basketball team will close out the package with its home game against Columbia on Friday, Feb, 24. Both games will air live on YES beginning at 7 p.m.
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity