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Yale Holds Off Penn inside Lanman Center

Allie Messimer. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Allie Messimer. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Vasquez a Perfect 10-for-10 at the Foul Line in 2nd Half to Help Lift Bulldogs to Win


NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Yale University women's basketball team had to battle Winter Storm Nemo and a roof leak inside John J. Lee Amphitheater before it even stepped foot on the court to face Penn.

And when the Bulldogs finally stepped onto the court, it was inside the Lanman Center after the game was moved there because of the leaky roof inside Lee Amphitheater.

It turns out that the adversity is just what the Bulldogs needed to get back on the winning track.

Senior guard Megan Vasquez scored 15 points and pulled down seven rebounds, and she was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free-throw line to help Yale hold off Penn, 65-56, in Ivy League action Saturday night.

With the win, Yale improves to 7-12 overall, 2-3 in Ivy League play. Penn falls to 9-9 overall, 2-2 in Ivy League play. Yale is scheduled to return to the court Sunday at 6 p.m. against first-place Princeton, which is now 13-5, 4-0 in Ivy League play after earning a 68-37 win at Brown.

Sophomore guard Sarah Halejian scored 10 of her 12 points in the second half, while junior guard Janna Graf tallied 11 points and five rebounds. Junior center Zenab Keita added eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

Keiera Ray scored 13 points to pace Penn, while Kathleen Roche added 10 points. Alyssa Baron, Penn's leading scorer and the fourth-leading scorer in the Ivy League (14.3 ppg.) was held to just four points, after playing most of the game in foul trouble. She picked up three first-half fouls and fouled out in the closing seconds as Penn was fouling the Bulldogs in an effort to keep the score close.

Trailing 6-2 at the start of the game, Yale used a 17-2 run to pull ahead 19-8 with 8:42 left in the half, with senior captain Allie Messimer scoring five points in the run and juniors Janna Graf and Zenab Keita each pouring in four points.

The teams traded points, but Yale managed to extend its lead to as many as 12 points on three occasions, the last coming on a jumper by freshman forward Meredith Boardman that put Yale on top 28-16 with 3:44 left.

Penn made a small 6-1 run before the end of the half to trim Yale's lead to 29-22 with 59 seconds left, but Yale scored the final four points of the half to go into the halftime break with a 33-22 lead.

In the opening 10 minutes of the second half, Penn could get no closer than seven points, but Yale was able to hold things steady and pull ahead 47-36 on a jumper by Halejian.

Penn responded with an 8-0 run that trimmed Yale's lead to just three points at 47-44. Baron scored all four of her points in that run, but that was as close as the Quakers could get.

Vasquez hit a pair of free throws and Halejian followed with a 3-pointer and a short jumper to fuel a short 7-2 run that added a little comfort to Yale's advantage, 54-46 with 3:49 left.

Ray hit a pair of free throws to pull Penn to within striking distance, 54-48 with 2:26 left. However, in the final 1:06 of the game, Vasquez went 8-for-8 from the line and Halejian went 3-for-4 to help Yale secure the victory and hold off any final push by the Quakers.

The Bulldogs outrebounded the Quakers 44-27 even though the Quakers outscored the Bulldogs 24-14 in the paint and 13-11 off of turnovers. Yale was a little better on the temporary home court, shooting 20-for-49 overall (40.8 percent) and 4-for-16 from 3-point range (25.0 percent). The Bulldogs were also 21-for-27 from the foul line (77.8 percent).

Penn was 20-for-57 from the floor (35.1 percent), but just 7-for-28 in the opening half. The Quakers were also 3-for-13 from 3-point range (23.1 percent) and 13-for-14 from the foul line (92.9 percent).

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity