December 21, 2008

Bulldogs Edge Quinnipiac in Overtime Thriller, 77-73

Dec. 21, 2008

Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women's basketball team has displayed a flair for the dramatic in the early stages of the 2008-09 season. The Bulldogs entered Sunday's intra-state clash with Quinnipiac having had six of their first eight contests decided by five points or less. After dropping their last two games by a total of just seven points, the Bulldogs were determined to not let a third close game slip from their grasp. Yale overcame a 14-point halftime deficit on Sunday to knock off the Bobcats in overtime by a score of 77-73. Junior Melissa Colborne netted a team-high 21 points for the Bulldogs. Junior Haywood Wright added a career-best 18 points and led all players with nine rebounds.

With the win, Yale improves to 4-5 on the season. Quinnipiac, who had received votes in the last two USA Today/ESPN Division I Top 25 Coaches' Poll, fell to 8-2.

"I am very proud of the way we played today," said Chris Gobrecht, The Joel E. Smilow Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball at Yale. "We showed that we have learned a lot from all of these close games. Our experience in these situations made the difference today."

Senior Jamie Van Horne, who contributed the game-winning lay-up with one second remaining in overtime, was the third Bulldog to reach double figures with 12 points. She also led all players with four assists.

Most the first half was tight, with Quinnipiac holding a 24-23 lead with 5:35 remaining. However, the Bobcats broke the game open with 19-3 run over the ensuing five minutes of action, and entered the intermission leading by 14 points, 43-29. Quinnipiac's Erin Kerner led all players with 18 points in the opening frame. Colborne led Yale with nine points. Wright added seven points and Van Horne tallied six for the Bulldogs. Yale shot 9-for-24 (37.5%) from the floor, 2-for-6 (33.3%) from three-point range and 9-for-11 (81.8%) from the free throw line in the half. The Bobcats hit nearly half of their attempts from the floor at 15-for-31 (48.4%), went 3-for-4 (75%) from downtown and knocked down 10 of 14 attempts (71.4%) from the charity stripe. Quinnipiac outrebounded Yale 23-11 and won the turnover battle by a 13-11 margin.

The Bulldogs came out on fire in the second half, rattling off a 16-2 run to open the stanza that knotted the score at 45-45 with 14:19 remaining. The run featured buckets from six different Yale players, including five points from junior Ashley Carter. The Bobcats answered with five-point spurt, but the Bulldogs responded in kind with a five-point run that knotted the score once again at 50-50. Neither team would lead by more than four points for the remainder of the game, which arrived at its eighth deadlock at 66-66 with 4:53 remaining. Kerner sank a pair of free throws, her 35th and final points of the afternoon, and Brianna Rooney added a pair from the stripe that gave the visitors a 70-66 edge with 4:17 left. Neither squad would score until 1:31 remained in the second half, as a lay-up from Wright cut the lead to two points. Yale forced a turnover on the ensuing Bobcats' possession, and Van Horne drew a foul and knocked down the tying free throws with 58 seconds left. A contested jumper by Jacinda Dunbar hit the side of the rim and fell into the arms of Wright with 28 ticks left gave the Bulldogs one final chance at ending the game in regulation. Van Horne found her way around a screen for an open look, but her three-point attempt and the ensuing putback both missed their targets. Quinnipiac regained possession with 0.8 seconds left and quickly called timeout. The full-court inbounds play was thwarted by Wright, who defended the inbounder and came up with a steal that let the clock reach 0:00 with the score knotted at 70-70.

Colborne netted 12 points in the second half before fouling out with 2:46 remaining. Wright added nine points and pulled down five boards. Kerner led all players with 17 second half points. For the stanza, Yale shot 13-for-23 (56.5%) from the field, 2-for-4 (50%) from beyond the arc and 13-for-16 (81.3%) from the free throw line. The Bobcats shot 6-for-25 (24%) from the floor, 1-for-2 from downtown and 14-for-16 from the stripe. Yale won the battle under the boards, 19-14, and Quinnipiac had the edge in turnovers at 11-10.

A Dunbar free throw gave Quinnipiac the lead 19 seconds into the five minute overtime. Freshman Michelle Cashen answered for Yale, as she too connected on a free throw attempt. The 71-71 stalemate held up until the 1:27 mark, when a Cashen lay-up gave the Bulldogs the lead at 73-71. The Bobcats answered with a pair of foul shots by Dunbar with 22 seconds remaining. Once again, the Bulldogs held the ball for one final shot. This time, Van Horne found a hole and converted a dish from freshman Brianna Segerson into a lay-in that gave Yale at 75-73 lead. Wright stole the inbounds pass and was promptly fouled. She sank her two free throws to ice the game, as Yale edged its intra-state rivals by a final score of 77-73.

The Bulldogs shot 2-for-4 (50%) from the field in the extra frame, missed their lone three-point attempt and hit three of four free throws (75%). Quinnipiac missed all four of their field goals attempts, including one from long range, and also shot 3-for-4 from the charity stripe.

Kerner finished with a career- and game-high 35 points, but was held without a field goal for the final 7:05 of the second half and all of the overtime period. Rooney also reached double figures for the Bobcats with 10 points. Kathleen Neyens netted eight and hauled in a team-best eight rebounds.

The Bulldogs will close out 2008 on the west coast with non-conference games at California-Irvine and California-Riverside on Dec. 28 and 30. After the trip, Yale kicks off 2009 with a four-game homestand against St. Bonaventure (Jan. 4), New Jersey Institute of Technology (Jan. 9), Bryant (Jan. 13) and the Ivy League opener against Brown (Jan. 16).

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity

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