Bulldogs Host Harvard, Dartmouth This Weekend

Bulldogs Host Harvard, Dartmouth This Weekend

Feb. 4, 2009

Complete Release in PDF Format

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women's basketball team continues its trek through the Ivy League with a pair of Ancient Eight home games this weekend. Harvard comes to New Haven on Friday night at 7 p.m. The game will air live on the YES Network (DirecTV channel 631) as a part of the Yale on YES package. On Saturday at 6 p.m., the Dartmouth Big Green visit the John J. Lee Amphitheater. Saturday's contest will be streamed live on the Internet via Yale All*Access as John Song and Sam Purdy from WYBC, Yale's student radio station, call the action. The Bulldogs are currently 9-9 overall this season and 2-2 in the Ivy League.

After this weekend, Yale will have played the three co-champions of the Ivy League from 2007-08 in consecutive games. Cornell, Harvard and Dartmouth each posted 11-3 Ancient Eight records last season en route to a playoff that saw Big Red winning the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and Big Green earning a slot in the WNIT. The Bulldogs went 1-5 against the co-champions in 2007-08, defeating Harvard in the regular season finale to prevent the Crimson from winning the Ivy League outright.

Yale hosted Ivy League foes Columbia and Cornell last weekend, knocking off the Lions on Friday night by a score of 63-61 before falling to Big Red on Saturday, 57-42. Junior forward Haywood Wright led the Bulldogs in scoring both nights, averaging 15.0 points and 5.0 rebounds for the weekend. Junior Melissa Colborne and freshman Michelle Cashen reached double figures in the win on Friday night, and sophomore Yoyo Greenfield netted double-figure points on Saturday.

Yale was 7-7 in Ivy League last season, its best conference record since the 2001-02 campaign. The Bulldogs last above-.500 finish in league play came in the 1997-98 campaign, when the squad finished 8-6. Yale's lone Ivy League Championship came in the 1978-79 season.

The preseason favorite to win the Ivy League, Harvard enters the weekend at 10-7 overall and 2-1 in Ancient Eight play. The Crimson comes to New Haven off of a weekend road sweep of Penn and Princeton that saw senior guard Emily Tay average 18.0 points and 5.5 assists en route to grabbing Ivy League Co-Player of the Week honors. Tay is second on the Crimson with 11.4 points per contest and leads the Ivy League with 5.2 assists per game. Emma Marley leads Harvard with 13.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Freshman Brogan Berry, Ivy League Rookie of the Week on five occasions this season, is the third Harvard player averaging double-figure points with 10.5 per contest. Senior Niki Finelli currently heads the Ivy League with a .403 (25-62) three-point field goal percentage.

Harvard leads the all-time series with Yale, 27-37, and has won four of six meetings during Coach Gobrecht's tenure at Yale. The Bulldogs and Crimson have split the series in each of the last two seasons, with each club winning on its home court in both years. In the most recent meeting, Yale's win over Harvard in the final game of the 2007-08 season prevented the Crimson from winning the Ivy League title outright.

Friday's contest against Harvard will be televised live on the YES Network as part of the Yale on YES package this winter. Additionally, the men's games again Princeton on Fri., Feb. 13 and against Columbia on Sat., Feb. 21 will air live on Yale on YES.

"Our team is definitely excited to have our game against Harvard televised, but I also think this is really good for women's basketball," said Coach Gobrecht. "Yale and Harvard represent what intercollegiate athletics should be about and fans of the game will see the kind of intensity, all-out play and team attitudes that make our game popular."

Selected to finish second in the Ivy League Preseason Coaches' Poll, the Dartmouth Big Green enter the weekend at 8-9 overall and unbeaten in three Ivy League contests. Dartmouth, which will trek to Brown on Friday before coming to New Haven, swept at Princeton and Penn this past weekend to extend its win streak to five games. Brittney Smith leads Big Green with 14.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, slotting her at third and second in the Ivy League in each category. Smith earned Player of the Week accolades in three consecutive weeks in January. Koren Schram, a three-point threat with 37 conversions from downtown this season, is also averaging double-figure points at 12.1 per game.

Dartmouth has won its last three meetings with Yale to claim a 47-15 lead in the all-time series. In two contests against the eventual WNIT participant Big Green last season, Mady Gobrecht led the Bulldogs with 11.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

This Saturday's contest with Dartmouth will be a part of National Girls and Women in Sports Day. NGWSD began in 1987 as a day to remember Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman for her athletic achievements and her work to assure equality for women's sports. NGWSD is marked annually with events around the country and on Capitol Hill to celebrate the athletic achievements of girls and women and to promote the continued expansion of opportunities for girls to play sports and live physically active lives.

Chris Gobrecht, now in her 29th season as a Division I head coach, has amassed a career 457-377 (.548) record, ranking her 27th among active coaches in career victories. The ninth coach in the 36-year history of Yale women's basketball, Gobrecht has more career victories than any other active basketball coach (men's or women's) in the Ivy League. In her tenure at Yale, she has coached an Ivy League Rookie of the Year (Melissa Colborne, 2006-07) and two first team All-Ivy players (Colborne, 2007-08 and Erica Davis, 2006-07). Prior to Gobrecht's arrival in the Elm City, a Bulldog player had not earned first team accolades since the 1997-98 campaign. Last season, Gobrecht led the Bulldogs to a 7-7 record in the Ivy League, their best conference record since 2001-02. Despite a non-conference schedule that included eventual National Finalist Stanford, as well as NCAA Tournament participants Arizona State and Marist, the 2007-08 Bulldogs posted nine wins, the team's second-highest victory total in the last six seasons.

Broadcasting the Feb. 6 contest for the YES Network will be veteran play-by-play man Chris Shearn and Cecelia DeMarco, the head coach of Yale women's basketball from 1990-1999. DeMarco, the all-time winningest coach in program history with 107 wins, coached two Ivy League Rookies of the Year (Katy Grubbs, Mary Kalich) and four All-Ivy players (Grubbs, Kalich, Kathleen Offer, Maria Siambekos) during her stint at the helm for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs' 77-73 overtime victory against Quinnipiac on Dec. 21 was their third straight game to be tied in the final two minutes of regulation. In total, half of the Bulldogs' 18 contests this season have been deadlocked within the final three minutes of the second half, and 13 of their 18 games have been decided by fewer than 10 points. Yale is 7-6 in those 13 contests.

With a three-pointer with 5:15 remaining the second half against Kentucky on Nov. 28, her fourth of five treys on the day, senior Jamie Van Horne eclipsed Tory Mauseth '05 to become Yale's all-time leader in career three-point field goals. Van Horne, who is shooting 40-for-114 (.351) from beyond the arc in 2008-09, has connected on 194 three-pointers in her career. The captain of the Bulldogs sank 59 triples in 2007-08, the second highest single-season total in Yale history. The single-season mark at Yale belongs to Maria Smear `03, who sank 62 treys in the 2000-01 season.

The Bulldogs have been one of the top free throw shooting teams in the Ivy League this season at 307-for-422 (.727), slotting them at 33rd in all of Division I from the line. Junior forward Melissa Colborne, a career .778 free throw shooter, has drilled 119 of her 142 attempts (.838) from the charity stripe in 2008-09. She matched her own Yale record with a 12-for-12 day at the line on Dec. 8 at Stony Brook, and also set the program record for most made free throws in a game with 14 (on 16 attempts) at UC Riverside on Dec. 30. Colborne hit 22 consecutive free throws this season, a streak spanning from the second half on the Nov. 29 win over New Hampshire to the first half of the Dec. 10 contest at Army.

In the Ivy League Preseason Poll, the Bulldogs were selected to repeat their 2007-08 fourth place finish. After winning the Ivy League title outright in 2006-07 and sharing the crown in 2007-08, the Harvard Crimson have once again been tabbed to win the Ivy in 2008-09, as voted on by the media and women's basketball sports information directors of the Ancient Eight. Harvard notched 128 total points and 10 of 17 first place votes Dartmouth, who along with Harvard and Cornell shared the Ivy title at 11-3 last season, was slotted to place second with 117 points and four first place votes. Big Red received the other three first place votes and 94 points overall to land in third place. Cornell will have an upward climb to stay on par with the other 2007-08 co-champions of the Ivy League, as reigning Ivy League Player of the Year Jeomi Maduka has left the program to pursue track and field. The Bulldogs are the first team behind the trio of 2007-08 champions in the poll, garnering 83 points. The preseason poll is rounded out by Columbia (74 points), Penn (52), Princeton (46) and Brown (18).

Once again in 2008-09, Bulldogs' fans can watch home games from the John J. Lee Amphitheater live and free of charge via the Yale All*Access package. All Yale All*Access content will also be archived on yalebulldogs.com. The webcasts include audio commentary by WYBC, Yale's student radio station. To access the feed, simply click on the Yale All*Access logo in the upper right corner of the Yale Athletics home page, or the "watch" link on the schedule. Viewers will need to create an account by entering a username and password. Since it is airing live on the YES Network, the Feb. 6 contest against Harvard will not be a part of the Yale All*Access package.

Non-conference opponents Bucknell (L, 73-70) and Minnesota (L, 87-63) marked two of the three 2008-09 Yale opponents that participated in last season's Division I NCAA Tournament. Ivy League foe Cornell also went to the Big Dance in 2007-08. Additionally, Division I newcomer Bryant (W, 77-71) competed in the Division II NCAA Tournament last season.

Yale's 14 non-conference games in 2008-09 featured eight different conferences (America East, Atlantic 10, Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big West, Northeast, Patriot and Southeastern) as well as two independents (New Jersey Institute of Technology and Bryant).

Though there are 32 American universities with the "Bulldogs" mascot, the Jan. 13 win over Bryant marked just the second time that Yale women's basketball had met another team sporting the "Bulldogs" moniker. The Yale Bulldogs dropped a 69-48 decision to the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Nov. 29, 2003 as a part of the Seattle Times Classic.

Sophomore forward Mady Gobrecht is the daughter of head coach Chris Gobrecht. They are one of two active mother-daughter, coach-player tandems in Division I women's basketball (Southern Mississippi: Coach Joye Lee-McNelis and Whitney McNelis). This is the sixth time in Yale's 156-year athletic history that a head coach is mentoring his or her child in a varsity sport, and the first where the combo is mother-daughter (men's fencing: Robert & Maurice Grasson, 1936-38; baseball: Smoky Joe & Joseph Wood, 1939-41; men's basketball: Howard & David Hobson, 1952-55; men's squash: John & Jack Skillman, 1954-55; football: Jordan & Harry Olivar, 1957-59).

The Bulldogs road through the Ivy League leads to Princeton and Penn next weekend. Yale heads to New Jersey for a meeting with Tigers on Friday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m., then treks to Penn on the next night for a 7 p.m. tilt at the Palestra in Philadelphia.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity