West Coast Swing Wraps Up 2008 for Bulldogs

West Coast Swing Wraps Up 2008 for Bulldogs

Dec. 24, 2008

Complete Game Notes in PDF Format

After pulling off a dramatic overtime win over Quinnipiac on Dec. 21, the Yale women's basketball team looks to pack up its momentum and ship it across the country. The Bulldogs will close out 2008 with non-conference games against two first-time opponents, the University of California, Irvine (Dec. 28) and the University of California, Riverside (Dec.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).

After a 33-day, six-game road stint, Yale finally returned home for an intra-state clash with Quinnipiac on Dec. 21. Yale overcame a 14-point halftime deficit (43-29) 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. Senior Jamie Van Horne, who contributed the game-winning lay-up with one second remaining in the overtime period, was the third Bulldog to reach double figures with 12 points. She also led all players with four assists.

The Bulldogs' 77-73 overtime victory against Quinnipiac was their third straight game to be tied in the final two minutes of regulation. In total, six of the Bulldogs' nine contests this season have been deadlocked within the final 2:11 of the second half, and seven of their nine games have been decided by five points or fewer.

Slotted eighth out of nine teams in the Big West Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, the UC Irvine Anteaters dropped a 64-43 decision to Western Michigan on Dec. 22, their sixth consecutive loss, to fall to 3-8 on the season. The Anteaters are 0-4 on their home court in 2008-09. Junior guards Rebecca Maessen and Mary Has lead UC Irvine with 14.0 and 13.0 points per game respectively. Maessen is shooting .536 from three-point range this season, knocking down 15 of her 28 attempts from beyond the arc. 6'4 sophomore center Kim Barnes, a native of Auckland, New Zealand, leads the Anteaters under the boards with 5.3 rebounds per contest.

Selected as the preseason favorite to win the Big West Conference title, as voted by the conference's coaches, the UC Riverside Highlanders enter the week at 3-7. The Highlanders, who will play at Nevada-Las Vegas before hosting the Bulldogs, have lost three straight contests. UC Riverside's last victory was its lone home game thus far in 2008-09, a 50-47 upset of then-No. 16 nationally-ranked Vanderbilt on Dec. 6. Senior forward Kemie Nkele leads the Highlanders with 18.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per contest. She is also the team leader in minutes played, free throws made and three-point field goals made.

UC Irvine and UC Riverside are both first-time opponents for the Bulldogs. Yale is 1-1 all-time against the Big West Conference, winning at California State-Northridge in the 1998-99 season and dropping a decision at Pepperdine in the 1986-87 campaign. The Anteaters and Highlanders are two of five first-time opponents for Yale in 2008-09 (Minnesota, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Bryant).

Despite traveling more than 3,000 miles for this week's action, several Bulldogs will feel right at home in the Golden State. Chris Gobrecht, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball is a graduate of Southern California. She also coached in California for 13 seasons, patrolling the sidelines at California State-Fullerton from 1979-85 and at Southern California from 1997-04. Gobrecht also spent time on the west coast from 1985-96 as head coach of the Washington Huskies in the Pac-10 Conference. Additionally, senior guard Jamie Van Horne (Healdsburg, Calif.), junior forward Haywood Wright (Irvine) and sophomore guard Yoyo Greenfield (Los Angeles) all hail from California. Sophomore forward Mady Gobrecht has also lived in California.

Chris Gobrecht, now in her 29th season as a Division I head coach, has amassed a career 453-374 (.548) record, ranking her 31st 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 he 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 Bulldogs posted nine wins, the team's second-highest victory total in the last six seasons.

After piling up 517 career coaching victories at St. Francis (N.Y.) and Fairfield, Yale Assistant Coach Dianne Nolan was recently one of 14 inductees enshrined into the Camden County (N.J.) Sports Hall of Fame. Nolan's ties to Camden County athletics begin at Gloucester Catholic High School. A 1969 graduate of the school, Nolan was a three-sport athlete. She played basketball under the coaching of her mother, Bert Nolan, a fellow Camden County Sports Hall of Famer. Nolan was recognized five times as the MAAC Coach of the Year, taking the honors in 1983, 1984, 1990, 1998 and 2000. She was named the MBWA Coach of the Year in 2001 and earned New England Coach of the Year honors in 1984.

The Yale vs. Harvard women's basketball game on Feb. 6 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 Chris Gobrecht, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "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."

Junior forward Haywood Wright earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors for her performance in the Dec. 21 overtime win against Quinnipiac. Wright scored a career-high 18 points, including two free throws to ice the game, and ripped down a game-high nine rebounds in the Bulldogs' 77-73 overtime win over Quinnipiac on Dec. 21. Wright shot 6-for-9 (66.7%) from the floor, knocked down her lone three-point attempt and shot a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line. She led all players with four blocks and four steals and also dished out two assists in 34 minutes of action. On the season, Wright has been a force on both ends of the court for the Bulldogs. She is averaging 10.7 points per game and rates second in the Ivy League with a team-best 8.7 rebounds per contest. Defensively, Wright leads the Ivy League in blocked shots with 1.7 per game.

Junior forward Melissa Colborne, a first team All-Ivy selection in 2007-08, leads all Ancient Eight players with 18.0 points per game so far this season. Most recently, Colborne led the Bulldogs with 21 points in the Dec. 21 win over Quinnipiac. Colborne averaged 15.7 points per game last year, the second-highest average in the Ivy League.

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 24-for-58 (.414) from beyond the arc in 2008-09, has connected on 178 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 the best free throw shooting team in the Ivy League this season at 185-for-243 (.761). Junior forward Melissa Colborne, a career .781 free throw shooter, has drilled 74 of her 83 attempts 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. 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.

After playing nine of their first 11 games on the road in 2008, the Bulldogs will wrap-up their non-conference schedule with a trio of games at the John J. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven. Yale kicks off 2009 against St. Bonaventure on Jan. 4 and then hosts NJIT (Jan. 9) and Bryant (Jan. 13) to close out their non-conference slate. The Ivy League schedule starts up in the Elm City as the Bulldogs host Brown on Jan. 16.

Yale Women's Basketball Main Page

UC Irvine Pay-Per-View Video

UC Irvine Women's Basketball Main Page
UC Riverside Women's Basketball Main Page

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity