Graf Scores 12 Points in Second Half to Spark Yale Rally
ITHACA, N.Y. — Senior guard Megan Vasquez became the eighth player in the history of the women's basketball program at Yale University to record 1,300 career points with her first basket of the game and junior guard Janna Graf provided the offensive spark that Yale needed in the second half to get back on the winning track Friday night.
Vasquez reached the 1,300-point milestone with Yale's first basket of the game and finished with 15 points to lead Yale to a 67-58 win over Cornell inside Newman Arena.
With the win, Yale improves to 8-13 overall, 3-4 in Ivy League play, while Cornell falls to 10-10 overall, 2-4 in Ivy League play.
Graf scored 12 of her 13 points in the second half to help the Bulldogs rally from a second-half deficit. She also had six rebounds and five assists. Senior captain Allie Messimer finished with 10 points, while freshman Meredith Boardman finished with six points and a career-high 10 rebounds.
Allyson DiMagno scored a game-high 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Cornell. Spencer Lane finished with 10 points.
Yale trailed 4-2 at the 18:32 mark of the first half, but used a 6-0 run to pull ahead 8-4 and didn't trail for the rest of the first half. All eight of Vasquez' first-half points came in the Bulldogs' game-opening 13 points, helping to produce a 13-8 lead with 14:42 left in the half.
"Megan is starting to catch her stride, which I think we're going to see what Megan is capable of going down the stretch in the Ivy League," said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "She had a hard start, but she is getting better every day. She was definitely doing her thing tonight."
The Bulldogs opened up a 26-19 lead with 2:10 left in the first half, but Cornell outscored the Bulldogs 4-1 in the closing minutes of the half and grabbed some momentum heading into the halftime break when Shelby Lyman's jumper bounced in at the buzzer to cut Yale's lead to 27-23.
The Big Red scored the first four points of the second half and used an 11-3 run to open the half to pull ahead 34-30 with 13:20 left in the game. Seven of those Big Red points came from DiMagno, who spent a good portion of the first half on the bench because of foul trouble. She scored 15 of her 23 points in the second half to fuel Cornell's second-half surge.
"Allyson DiMagno is just really good," Gobrecht said. "She is very smart and very versatile. She is deceptive. You don't realize how good she is until you have to play her."
Cornell led 37-32 when Graf scored five straight points to tie the game at 37-37 with 9:32 left. The teams traded points until Graf sank a pair of free throws to tie the game at 41-41, and then Yale used a 10-4 spurt to pull ahead 51-45 with 5:30 left.
"Janna really came alive in the second half," Gobrecht said. "We looked flat at the beginning of the second half. It took us a little while to get the energy going. The difference was that we kept pushing, and we know that if we keep pushing, we are going to be in good shape. But, we have to keep the game close. We just can't be down like we were against Harvard, Dartmouth and Brown."
Back-to-back jumpers by Messimer and Halejian capped a 6-0 run by Yale that pushed the lead to 59-50 with 2:25 left, which was just enough breathing room to secure the victory for the Bulldogs.
"I told the team after the game that I thought our good players stepped up and played like good players, and then I thought the bench did a good job of going in and giving us solid minutes. It was a very solid effort,:" Gobrecht said.
Yale returns to action Saturday night in New York City when it visits Columbia. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. inside Levien Gymnasium.
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity