W. BASKETBALL | California not so sunny for Bulldogs

It was a tough week for the women’s basketball team. Staying in action throughout the break, the Bulldogs were winless in their three games, which included a trip to California to play UC Berkeley and UC Davis. The Elis (1–4) have now hit a four-game skid and have not won since their season opener against Holy Cross.

The Elis hosted Delaware (5–0) in their home opener on Nov. 21 at the John J. Lee Amphitheater. The Blue Hens denied the Bulldogs their first home win, as All-American guard/forward Elena Delle Donne scored 41 points to propel Delaware to a 79-61 victory.

Though four Yale players ended the night with double-digit point totals — guard Allie Messimer ’13 and forward Ericka von Kaeppler ’13 each scored a team-high 14 points — their efforts were not enough to overcome the Blue Hens. Guard Megan Vasquez ’13, the team’s top scorer, was limited to four points on 1-for-11 shooting. The Bulldogs were also outrebounded 40-20 in the contest.

Following the matchup with Delaware, the team travelled to the West Coast to face Cal (6–1) and UC Davis (6–1) for only the second time in the team’s history.

“We played two good teams, on the road, a long way from home,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “The whole idea was just to get better. We’re not quite whole yet, but we’re getting there. It’s very important for us to get better, and I thought we did that.”

The road trip started in Berkeley on Tuesday, where the Bulldogs fell 64–41 to the Golden Bears at Haas Pavilion.

Cal’s Talia Caldwell and DeNesha Stallworth carried most of the offensive load for the Golden Bears and each finished the night with double-doubles. Caldwell had 17 points and 16 rebounds, both game highs. Cal also outrebounded the Bulldogs by a 64-34 margin.

“We did not board well against Cal, but that was an extremely good rebounding team,” Gobrecht said. “That was kind of less than par.”

The Elis shot only 16-for-72 from the field in the game. Vasquez contributed a team-high 11 points, while forward Mady Gobrecht ’11 chipped in with 10 points and five rebounds. Forward Michelle Cashen ’12 also totaled eight points, five boards and a game-high five steals.

“We do need to shoot the ball better,” coach Gobrecht said. “We’re a better shooting team, and we’ve had a lot of great open looks and we’re not knocking all them down, so we’ve got to work on better shooting.”

The Bulldogs looked to close out their road trip on a high note with a game against UC Davis on Friday night, but they were unable to do so as the Aggies handed Yale a 73-62 loss.

Paige Mintun led the Aggies with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Kasey Riecks added 11 points and six rebounds.

The Bulldogs received an offensive lift from von Kaeppler, whose 14 points matched her career-high point total. She shot 5-of-7 on field goals, including 3-of-4 from three-point range off the bench for the Elis. Vasquez and Cashen also chipped in with 14 and 12 points, respectively, and each added four assists.

“I feel comfortable [shooting from three-point range],” von Kaeppler said. “A lot of the coaches had told us that they’re confident in our shooting abilities, so there’s no need to feel timid at all when we’re out there, so their confidence in us helps boost our own confidence, and for me specifically it helps a lot.” The Elis were able to stay competitive for the entire first half and took a 12-8 lead after von Kaeppler hit a three-pointer with 13:36 left on the clock.

However, the Aggies came back and went on a 9-0 run to take a 17–12 lead. Vasquez sank a shot from downtown with 17 seconds left in the half to pull the Bulldogs within five points, but Mintun responded by hitting a buzzer-beater jumper to give the Aggies a 34–27 lead at halftime.

Davis continued to build their lead in the second half and went on a 20–4 run in the early minutes to take a 54–31 advantage.

“I just think that we had breakdowns when we’d go a couple of possessions with turnovers or without getting a rebound, and then we’d get back after that, but we couldn’t find a way to string together all of our good stretches and kind of eliminate the parts where we’d breakdown,” von Kaeppler said.

Though the Bulldogs were able to cut down the lead to 11 points by the end of the night, that run by the Aggies put the game out of reach for Yale.

It was the fourth consecutive double-digit loss for the Bulldogs. One of the bright spots of the night, however, was that the Elis had a 36-34 rebounding advantage. It was the first time Yale outrebounded an opponent all season.

“It was a great experience,” Gobrecht said of the road trip. “We played two very high quality teams, and we did fine. We’re going to keep getting better, and we’re going to be ready when the Ivy play comes along.”

The Bulldogs’ next game is slated for Wednesday night, when they head to Providence for another road game. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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