The women’s basketball team lost a pair of games to potential NCAA Tournament teams this past weekend at the Holiday Inn & Suites Express Midtown Thanksgiving Tournament hosted by the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M. On Friday, the Bulldogs (2–3) fell to the hot-shooting Toledo Rockets (5–2), 78–61, then narrowly lost the fast-paced consolation game to the North Carolina A&T Aggies (2–3) 80–79 on Saturday.
“We played two pretty darn good teams,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “It was a good learning experience.”
Gobrecht added that Toledo and NC A&T were both potential contenders for an NCAA Tournament bids.
Against Toledo, the Bulldogs were ineffective on defense as the Rockets shot 61.2 percent (30-for-49) from the floor and 60 percent (six for 10) from three-point range in winning. The Elis also had some trouble getting back on defense, according to forward Mady Gobrecht ’11.
The Rockets held a 22–2 advantage in fastbreak points.
Forward Melissa Colborne ’10 and guard Yoyo Greenfield ’11 led the Bulldogs with 13 points each. Forward Michelle Cashen ’12 scored 11 points and earned five steals while guard Allie Messimer ’13 earned a career-high eight rebounds. Guard and captain Ashley Carter ’10 blocked two shots.
After being outrebounded 61–21 by the Arizona State Sun Devils on Nov. 19, the Bulldogs responded by outrebounding Toledo 37–32.
“We did improve our rebounding,” Mady Gobrecht said. “It helped that Toledo wasn’t nearly as big as ASU.”
The improved rebounding continued the next day against North Carolina A&T as the Bulldogs outrebounded the Aggies 46–35. The rebounding did not prove to be enough though, as the Aggies ironically won off an offensive rebound and putback as the final buzzer sounded.
The Yale offense appeared to come alive Saturday as the team broke out of its shooting slump to hit 50.7 percent (35 for 69) of its shots, its highest shooting percentage of the season.
Part of the reason for the Elis’ offense success stemmed the fact that North Carolina A&T did not apply as much defensive pressure as Toledo, Gobrecht said.
Colborne led five Bulldogs in double-figures with 17 points oneight-for-16 shooting to go along with seven rebounds. Forward Ericka von Kaeppler ’13 scored a career-high 14 points on seven-for-eight shooting. Greenfield added 13 points for the second straight game while Mady Gobrecht had her second double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Megan Vazquez ’13 contributed 10 points.
The game was close from the start, with six ties in the first half alone. The loss was the third straight for the Bulldogs after winning their first two games of the season.
The Elis were forced to play through the tournament without forward Lindsey Williams ’11, who did not make the trip. Williams, who has not played a game since the 2007-’08 season, has been dealing with renewed injury problems, and will undergo yet another surgery to remove a piece of chipped bone in her knee.
“It’s not as big as the past surgeries,” Williams said. “I don’t have an exact timetable yet.”
Williams does expect to return later on in the season, however.
The Bulldogs will next play a non-conference game at Bucknell on Saturday in what coach Gobrecht expects to be a preview of Ivy League play.
“The game will have an Ivy feel to it,” she said. “It will be a long road trip, and Bucknell is representative of the upper-echelon of Ivy League teams.”
The team hopes to continue to improve its rebounding as well as its fastbreak defense during practice this week.
While coach Gobrecht believes her team has a lot of work to do, she does feel the pieces are in place for the Bulldogs to have a successful season.
“We have yet to put it all together, but there have been times when we’ve shown what we’re capable of,” Gobrecht said.