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Yale Drops Ivy Opener to Brown

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

Vasquez Misses Buzzer-Beater for Potential Game-Winner in One-Point Loss


NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Yale University women's basketball team had high hopes for a strong start to the Ivy League season, but missed opportunities plagued the Bulldogs in their Ivy opener, allowing Brown to escape John J. Lee Amphitheater with a narrow victory on Saturday.

Lauren Clarke matched her career-high with 20 points, 16 coming in the second half, as Brown rallied from a 28-23 halftime deficit to sneak past Yale, 68-67, in the opening game of the Ivy League season for both teams.

After it saw a seven-point second-half lead turn to a seven-point deficit with 2:26 remaining, Yale rallied with an 11-4 run to tie the game on an Amanda Tyson jump shot with eight seconds left. But in the ensuing race up the court, senior guard Megan Vasquez fouled Brown's Sheila Dixon with five seconds left. Dixon sank the second of her two free throws to break the tie. Vasquez had a shot to win the game, but she lost control of the ball just behind the 3-point line. By the time she regained control, she was forced to throw up a shot at the buzzer that hit the rim but failed to fall through the hoop, giving Brown its second straight win at Yale.

It was Yale's first loss of the season when it held a halftime lead. The Bulldogs were 4-0 prior to Saturday in games in which they led at halftime.

Sophomore guard Sarah Halejian scored 10 of her team-high 14 points in the second half to lead the Bulldogs. Senior captain Allie Messimer scored 12 points, while Janna Graf added 10 points. Vasquez just missed out on her second career double-double. She finished with nine points and a season-high nine rebounds to go with five assists.

Yale entered the game ranked No. 9 in the nation in made 3-pointers per game (8.4) and No. 22 in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (35.9 percent), but the Bulldogs were just 5-for-20 from behind the arc against the Bears. The Bulldogs were also ranked No. 47 in the nation in free-throw shooting percentage (73.5 percent), but they only made 10-of-19 against Brown and missed seven crucial free-throw attempts in the second half.

Yale closed the first half with an 11-3 run behind five points from Messimer to run off with a 28-23 halftime lead. Graf scored the first basket of the second half to push Yale's lead to 30-23, its largest lead of the game.

Brown exploded with a 16-4 run to blow past Yale and take a 39-34 lead with 13:40 left. Brown pushed that lead to seven points on three separate occasions, the last coming at the 2:26 mark, before Yale finally began to pick up the pace.

Halejian scored six of her points in the late 11-4 run to help Yale tie the game in the closing seconds, but during that run, Yale missed three of its seven free-throw attempts that proved to be the difference in the game.

Yale will get a chance to turn the tables on Brown when it visits the Providence, R.I., campus for a rematch on Friday at 6 p.m. Yale has not lost at Brown since the 2009-10 season.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity