Yale’s Second-Half Outburst Leads to Big Win over Big Green

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

Five Players Score in Double Figures to Lead Bulldogs Past Dartmouth

HANOVER, N.H. — What a difference a half made for the Yale University women's basketball team.

After watching Dartmouth control the pace of the game in the opening half, Yale stormed out of the halftime break and started the second half with a 26-1 run that seized control of the game and led to an 89-65 victory over Dartmouth in Leede Arena Sunday afternoon.

"Anytime you win on the road in the Ivy League, it's a great feeling, and I think to sweep two programs with the success and tradition that these two teams have in this league, it's just a great accomplishment for our program to be able to do that," said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "We still have lots of difficult basketball ahead of us, but this is certainly a great way to springboard into that."

Megan Vasquez scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Bulldogs (11-7, 3-1 Ivy League). Janna Graf finished with 19 points, while three others also finished in double figures. Aarica West tallied 12 points and four steals, while freshman Sarah Halejian had 10 points and six assists. Sophomore Amanda Tyson came off the bench to pour in 11 points.

Yale held Dartmouth (2-15, 0-3 Ivy League) to just one free throw through the first 9:31 of the second half, and the Big Green failed to score a single field goal until Tia Dawson's layup with 9:34 left.

During that stretch, everything seemed to fall for the Bulldogs. Vasquez scored seven of her points in the 26-1 run, while Graf hit a pair of clutch 3-pointers and Tyson sank back-to-back baskets at the end the run.

By the time the dust had settled, there was little doubt that the Bulldogs would come out on top and Dartmouth would suffer its 13th straight loss, extending the program's record losing streak.

"We got better defensively and they missed some shots. They are young and I think it got to them a little bit when they missed some shots. They will get over that," Gobrecht said. "And then we were just off to the races and we made hay while the sun shined. We had it going on and we just kind of went for it. And I even left everybody in there because I didn't want to break it up. There is no question that was when the game was decided was the opening of the second half."

A big reason for Yale's run was its defensive intensity. While it wasn't lacking in the first half, Dartmouth managed to find ways around Yale's defense, which allowed the Big Green shooters to find open looks. That didn't happen in the second half. Dartmouth's leading scorer, Faziah Steen, scored 11 points in the opening 20 minutes, but the Bulldogs held her to just two points in the second half. Milica Toskovic scored all 15 of her points in the opening half, but she failed to score anything in the second half.

Dartmouth controlled the pace of the game in the first half and sank big shot after big shot to maintain an advantage through most of the half. Most of those big shots came from Toskovic, who scored 15 of her points in the first half to pace the Big Green. She drained three 3-pointers to help Dartmouth maintain the lead.

"I was really impressed with Dartmouth in that first half. I just thought they were clicking on all cylinders offensively. I was grateful for halftime because I wasn't sure anything else was going to stop them," Gobrecht said. "They were doing a great job of moving the ball and finding the open shooter, and then their shooters were just burying it. We had to get them out of their rhythm offensively. Once we made that burst, it made it hard for the Dartmouth."

If it were not for the play of Graf and Vasquez, Yale would have been in trouble early. Graf scored 10 of Yale's first 30 points. Vasquez picked up the pace late in the half and help the Bulldogs stay within striking distance, scoring 11 of her points in the half.

Yale outshot Dartmouth in the half, 47.1 percent to 44.1 percent and forced 10 Dartmouth TOs. However, the Bulldogs had trouble hitting from long-range, hitting only 4-of-16 from 3-point range.

When the Ivy League season began three weekends ago, the Bulldogs were staring at a stretch of five road games in their first six Ivy League contests. Through the first four of those games, they are 3-1 with trips to Penn and Princeton waiting for them next weekend. While the players and coaches are happy with where things stand today, they know that there is a lot of work to do to get ready for the big task ahead next weekend.

"The only thing we ever talk about is getting better because the team that keeps getting better in this league is the team that has a shot to win it all going down the stretch," Gobrecht said.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity