February 17, 2012

Dominant First Half Propels Yale Past Dartmouth

Vasquez Scores 22 Points for Third Straight 20-Point Performance, Ninth of the Season

 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — With each passing game now, the first thing mentioned about Megan Vasquez will be where she stands in the Yale history books.

When she became the 17th player in Yale's history to pass 1,000 career points last week, the junior guard cemented her place in Yale's record books. Now the only thing left to figure out is where she will finish on the list of Yale's top scorers. At the rate she is going, Vasquez might very well overtake the top spot on the list by the time she graduates. Cracking the Top 10 could happen by the end of this season if she keeps pouring in 20 or more points per game.

Vasquez scored 14 of her game-high 22 points in the first half to lead Yale to a 66-48 win over Dartmouth Friday night, allowing the Bulldogs to remain in second place in the Ivy League standings.

It was sixth straight win over Dartmouth and third consecutive season sweep for Yale, which improves to 15-8 overall, 7-2 in Ivy League play. The 15 wins are the most for Yale since it went 16-10 in the 1993-94 season. Friday's win also secured Yale's first winning season since it finished 14-13 in 2001-02.

It was the third straight 20-point outing for Vasquez, the ninth of the season and 14th 20-point outing of her Yale career.

Since scoring 23 points in the Ivy League opener at Brown on Jan. 13, Vasquez has averaged 19.7 points per game. She is the Ivy League's leading scorer since League play began. In just the last three games, she has averaged 25.0 points per game. Take out the lone hiccup in her Ivy League performances, an 8-point effort at Princeton, and Vasquez has averaged 21.1 points against all other Ivy League teams.

She now has scored 1,055 points in her career with five games remaining in the regular season, which moves her into 14th place on Yale's all-time scoring list, passing Sue Malone's 1,038 career points.

Vasquez jumpstarted the Bulldogs' offense Friday night, scoring nine of Yale's first 14 points of the game. Leading by just two points, 8-6 with 15:38 left, Vasquez helped start a 29-6 run with her third 3-pointer of the game followed by a layup, and then she capped the run with an old-fashioned 3-point play to put Yale ahead 37-12 with 2:39 left.

The Yale run would have been less impressive had it not been for the play of freshman Hayden Latham, who scored 10 straight Yale points, her only points of the game. Her last six points came as the result of her three steals on consecutive Dartmouth possessions. Her play was all the more impressive because it was just her fourth game since returning to the lineup following an eight-game absence due to a concussion.

Yale went into the halftime break leading 38-16, scoring 20 of those points off of 16 Dartmouth turnovers. Yale held Dartmouth to 8-for-24 shooting in the half.

The second half, however, told a different story. Of Yale's 21 turnovers in the game, 13 of them came in the second half, resulting in 16 Dartmouth points.

"I don't think either team played well. I think both Dartmouth and ourselves wish that we represented the Ivy League a little bit better on national television,"said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "We are both disappointed about that because we are both better teams than what we showed tonight."

Yale's biggest lead of the game, 61-32, came with 7:48 left, but thanks in large part to that lackadaisical play, the Bulldogs allowed Dartmouth to close the gap to just 15 points, 63-48, with 2:38 to play. The Big Green had chances to pull even closer in the closing minutes, but five missed shots and a turnover by Dartmouth in the final 2:44 allowed Yale to hold on for the victory.

"We had a couple minutes of good basketball in the first half and that was the difference," Gobrecht said. "Hayden had one incredible stretch there that was about as impressive as anything that has happened for us all year. I think we just wish we could have put more good minutes together. We had way too many turnovers in the second half, an unacceptable number of turnovers, and we just have to do a better job."

Other than Vasquez and Latham, the other highlight for Yale came from sophomore forward Alexandra Osborn-Jones. She finished with career-highs in points (9), rebounds (10), offensive rebounds (5) and defensive rebounds (5), falling one point shy of her first career double-double.

Yale outrebounded Dartmouth 48-36 and outshot the Big Green. Yale was 26-for-66 overall (39.4 percent), while Dartmouth finished the game shooting 21-for-60 (35.0 percent). The Bulldogs were 5-for-13 from 3-point range in the first half, but the shots stopped falling in the second half, where Yale was just 1-for-9.

However, with a key Ivy League showdown with rival Harvard on Saturday, Yale is aware that a similar effort won't result in a victory over the Crimson.

After losing to Brown Friday night, Harvard (5-3) and Brown (6-3) sit one loss behind Yale.

"We have to rebound a whole lot better and we have to stop turning the ball over. That's the bottom line," Gobrecht said.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity