Bulldogs Tip off Quest for Ivy League Championship at Monmouth on Nov. 9
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Yale University Women's Basketball Team announced its schedule for the 2013-14 season on Monday, a 28-game slate that includes 13 home games and a total of 12 games against opponents that competed in postseason play last season.
Among the highlights of the non-league schedule, Yale will face Big 12 power Kansas for the first time in its history when it visits historic Allen Fieldhouse on the Lawrence, Kan., campus on Dec. 29. Yale will also visit Atlantic Coast Conference foe Miami (Fla.) on Nov. 25, facing the Hurricanes for just the second time. Yale's only other game against the Hurricanes came on Dec. 28, 2001, a 75-46 loss in Coral Gables, Fla.
Kansas and Miami are two of the three teams on the Bulldogs' schedule that appeared in the NCAA Tournament last season. Ivy League champion Princeton (Feb. 15-A, Feb. 28-H) also participated in the NCAA Tournament.
Kansas, which closed out the 2012-13 season ranked No. 25 in the final USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll, advanced all the way to the Sweet 16 before losing to a Notre Dame squad that earned a spot in the Final Four. Last season, Miami advanced to the NCAA tournament for a school-record third consecutive season and finished with a 20-win season for the fourth straight year. On Feb. 28, Miami defeated fourth-ranked Duke for the first time in program history.
The game at Miami starts a Thanksgiving week trip that will also include a game at Furman in Greenville, S.C., the hometown of junior guard Hayden Latham, who returns to the Bulldogs' lineup this season after missing the entire 2012-13 season due to injury. Greenville is also a short drive from the North Carolina home of senior Amanda Tyson. The game at Kansas will bring the Bulldogs near the hometowns of senior captain Janna Graf (Mission Woods, Kan.) and sophomore center Emmy Allen (Overland Park, Kan.).
"We love being able to travel to or near the hometowns of our players so the games against Furman and Kansas will be especially meaningful to several of our team members. I suspect the trip to Miami will be meaningful to us all," said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball.
For the first time since the 2005-06 season, which was Gobrecht's first season at Yale, the Bulldogs' schedule will not feature Patriot League foe Holy Cross. Since 2006-07 through last season, the Bulldogs played their season-opener against the Crusaders in every season except for the 2007-08 season, when national powerhouse Stanford came to John J. Lee Amphitheater to open the season.
Along with the game at Kansas, Yale will also face Monmouth and UMass-Lowell for the first time in its 41-year history.
The six non-league home games include Georgetown's second-ever visit to John J. Lee Amphitheater on Dec. 10. The Bulldogs are 1-4 overall against the Hoyas, but 1-1 in games played in Connecticut. Yale earned a 67-62 win over Georgetown on Dec. 5, 1982, in the second game of the Girls Club Tournament played at Fairfield University. In-state rival Sacred Heart will also pay a visit to Lee Amphitheater on Nov. 16, the first visit to Yale for new Pioneers head coach Jessica Mannetti.
The six-game non-league home slate also includes two games that are scheduled to be one half of a pair of doubleheaders with Yale's men's basketball team. On Wednesday, Dec. 4, both teams will host Bryant, with the women's game starting at 5 p.m., followed by the men's game at 7:30 p.m. On Dec. 7, the women's basketball team will host Army at 2 p.m., and the men's basketball team will entertain New Hampshire at 4:30 p.m.
"We have a chance to do something this year that is always popular with the people who support Yale basketball and that is to play some doubleheaders with our men," Gobrecht said. "The men's and women's basketball programs at Yale have a wonderful bond. We enjoy cheering for each other and are always excited for the other's success. Our games against Army and against Bryant will be great opportunities for our fans and our teams."
Yale will begin its quest for its first Ivy League championship since 1979 when it travels to Providence, R.I., on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, for the first game of a home-and-home series against Brown at the Pizzitola Sports Center.
The Bulldogs will be looking for their first win over Princeton since Feb. 13, 2009, when they visit Jadwin Gymnasium on Feb. 15 and host the Tigers at John J. Lee Amphitheater on Feb. 28.
Another highlight of the Ivy League schedule is a pair of games against Cornell on Feb. 1 in Ithaca, N.Y., and Feb. 21 inside John J. Lee Amphitheater. It will be the first two meetings for Yale's new assistant coach Clare Fitzpatrick against her former teammates. Fitzpatrick, a three-time All-Ivy League selection at Cornell, started a school-record 109 games during her career and is just the second player in Cornell history to record at least 1,200 career points and 600 career rebounds.
The Bulldogs will close out the 2013-14 regular season on Saturday, March 8, at Dartmouth, but they enter the season with the goal to extend play past that weekend and return to postseason play. An Ivy League championship would give the Bulldogs their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament, while a second-place finish would result in the program's second trip to the WNIT in four seasons.
Yale's quest for the Ivy League crown will go through four-time Ivy League champion Princeton and Harvard. Despite being swept by both teams last season, Yale is poised to overtake the Tigers and Crimson in 2013-14. The Bulldogs are coming off of a historic night at Harvard on Feb. 23, a 69-66 loss to the Crimson that saw then-sophomore guard Sarah Halejian score a career-high 29 points on 12-of-15 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range. The 29 points, 12 made field goals and 80.0 field-goal percentage are all the second-highest marks in Yale's record books. The Bulldogs are also adding a stellar freshmen class that will add guards Lena Munzer and Meghan McIntyre and forwards Katie Werner and Elizabeth Haley to a strong core of young talent that is already on the roster. Yale is also expecting Latham and junior center Arrice Bryant to return to the lineup after both missed last season due to injury.
"The Ivy League just keeps getting better and better," Gobrecht said. "I truly think that three or four teams could be battling for the championship this year. We expect to be one of them!"
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity