Dec. 31, 2008
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - After putting together consecutive victories for the first time this season with wins over Quinnipiac and the University of California, Irvine last week, the Yale women's basketball team went into a Tuesday evening match-up at the University of California, Riverside in search of its third straight win. However, despite a game-best 24 points from junior forward Melissa Colborne and 17 points and eight rebounds from junior forward Haywood Wright, the Bulldogs fell to the host Highlanders by a score of 72-65.
With the loss, the Bulldogs fell to record at 5-6. UC Riverside, the preseason favorite in the Big West Conference, improved to 4-8 with the victory.
Colborne's 24 points, which matched her season-best output, were highlighted by a Yale record 14 successful free throws. The previous record of 12 made free throws in a game was reached five times, including twice by Colborne. Sophomore guard Yoyo Greenfield netted nine points and pulled down a season-high five rebounds. The Bulldogs committed a season-low 15 turnovers and held UC Riverside's Kemie Nkele, who entered the game averaging 18 points per contest, to just nine points.
The contest was a tight affair from the start, as the two squads battled to a 19-19 deadlock with 7:59 remaining in the frame. The Bulldogs claimed a slight advantage in the next spurt of action, led by four points by Colborne, but the Highlanders hung tough as the game entered the final media timeout of the first half with Yale holding a 29-26 edge. The home team went on a quick 8-2 run after the stoppage to grab a 34-31 lead, but a Wright three-pointer with 1:13 left knotted the score once again at 34-34. The Highlanders netted the final three points of the frame and headed into the intermission with a slim 37-34 edge.
Colborne led all players in the half with 13 points. Wright joined her in double figures with 11, and Greenfield grabbed a team-high three first-half rebounds. Chanel Foster, Tainoisouti Lott and Roney Friend each netted six points to lead a balanced UC Riverside attack that saw nine different players tally at least two points. The Bulldogs shot 12-for-27 (44.4%) from the floor, 1-for-4 (25%) from three-point range and 9-for-12 (75%) from the free throw line. The Highlanders were 13-for-31 (41.9%) from the field, missed all three of their attempts from downtown and connected on 11 of 15 (73.3%) free throws. UC Riverside outrebounded Yale 22-16 and won the turnover battle by a 7-6 margin.
A pair of Greenfield free throws, awarded due to a technical foul on UC Riverside Head Coach John Margaritis during the intermission, ran the score to 37-36 to begin the second half. The Bulldogs netted the first six points of the half and, in total, started the frame on a 9-2 run to gain a 43-39 edge at the first media timeout with 15:32 on the clock. The Highlanders, however, promptly struck back with an 8-3 run of their own that gave them a 47-46 edge with 11:50 left in regulation. Two free throws from Colborne pushed the score back to a deadlock at 51-51, and a trey from Greenfield gave the Bulldogs a lead at 57-55 with 4:48 left. UC Riverside pushed back once again with a 5-2 run spurt to bring the score to a 60-60 stalemate with 2:33 remaining in the contest. A three-point play from Roney Friend gave the Highlanders the lead with 1:42 left, but a pair of Colborne free throws cut the lead back to one point at 63-62 with 1:18 remaining. After a UC Riverside timeout, Jessie Schmuckal knocked down a three-pointer, the first of the game for the home team, to bring the lead to four points at 66-62 and force a Yale timeout. Yale would not score again until the closing seconds, and the Highlanders hit their free throws down the stretch to escape with a 72-65 win.
Colborne and Friend shared the half high of 11 points, while Wright and Nkele each hauled in seven second-half boards to pace their teams on the glass. Seyram Gbewonyo netted 10 of her 15 points after the intermission for the Highlanders. In the second frame, Yale shot 7-for-29 (24.1%) from the field, 4-for-9 from beyond the arc and 13-for-17 (76.5%) from the foul line. The Highlanders shot 11-for-21 (52.4%) from the floor, 1-for-2 from deep and 12-19 (63.2%) from the stripe. The Bulldogs outrebounded UC Riverside 23-18 in the half but were edged in the turnover battle, 8-7.
For the game, Yale shot 19-for-56 (33.9%) from the floor, 5-for-14 (38.5%) from downtown and 22-for-29 (75.9%) from the free throw line. The home team was 24-for-52 (46.2%) from the field, 1-for-5 (20%) from three-point range and 23-for-34 (67.6%) from the line. The Highlanders won the battle under the board, 40-39, and edged Yale in turnovers, 15-13. Friend led UC Riverside with 17 points, and Nkele grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.
Back on the East Coast, 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