WOMEN’S BASKETBALL | Bulldogs snap four-game slide

guard megan vasquez ’13 scored nine points and dished out a team-high four assists as the elis broke a four-game slide with a 67–53 victory over fordham at home.
guard megan vasquez ’13 scored nine points and dished out a team-high four assists as the elis broke a four-game slide with a 67–53 victory over fordham at home. Photo by Maria Zepeda.

The women’s basketball team returned to the John J. Lee Amphitheater on Tuesday to snap a four-game losing streak with a 67–53 victory over the Fordham Rams.

After recent losses to Quinnipiac and Army, Yale (2–6, 0-0 Ivy) pushed past the Rams (5–2, 0–0 Atlantic 10), shooting 50 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the arc.

“We push the pace. That’s what we do,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “We caught Fordham at a good time and took advantage of it.”

Guard Janna Graf ’14 put up a season-high 18 points, complemented by six rebounds and five steals. Guard Sarah Halejian ’15 had 12 points, followed by guard Megan Vasquez ’13 and forward Meredith Boardman ’16 who each had nine.

Graf, the team’s leading scorer, went 5–5 from the free-throw line, contributing to the team’s 90.9 percentage from the line. The junior guard had two of Yale’s 11 assists, and the Elis assisted seven of their 13 baskets in the second half.

“We were working hard to find the open player. Tonight, Janna was smart about where to relocate, and it worked,” Gobrecht said.

After two back-to-back turnovers within the opening 30 seconds, captain Allie Messimer ’13 opened the scoring with a crucial 3-pointer. The Bulldogs maintained a close game with the Rams and entered halftime with a two-point lead.

In the second half, the Bulldogs outscored the Rams 36–24 and held off a strong performance by Fordham guard Erin Rooney, who led her team with 15 points. The redshirt junior scored 12 points on 5–9 shooting in the first half, but the Bulldogs limited her to three points on only two shot attempts after halftime. Overall, Yale’s defensive efforts held Fordham to a 33.9 shooting percentage from the field.

The teams remained locked in a close battle for the beginning of the second half, and Fordham pulled within one at 39–38 on forward Marah Strickland’s 3-pointer with 16:20 remaining in the game.

But from that point, Yale went on a 14–4 run capped by a 3-pointer from guard Megan Vasquez ’13 that kicked the Bulldogs’ lead into double digits with 6:43 left to play, and the Rams never again challenged the team.

“I think this game really showed that we can compete with good teams,” Graf said.

The Rams opened their season with a five-game winning streak that included a 58–50 victory over Cornell, though they have now dropped two of their last three.

The Bulldogs have been out-rebounded in each of their past four games, but they pulled down 27 defensive rebounds last night, three more than their season average.

“We’re big-picture-oriented,” Gobrecht said. “We just want to keep getting better, and I’m glad to see that the team was rewarded for their hard work.”

Boardman is averaging over 20 minutes per game this season and went 4–8 from the field to reach 50.0 percent shooting for the second time this season. Her classmate Nyasha Sarju ’16 has also played a major role on the team this year and is averaging 9.8 points per game and shooting 53.6 percent from beyond the arc. Sarju was named to the Ivy League Honor Roll this week after scoring 15 points on 5–7 shooting from the 3-point line in Yale’s 53–47 loss to Army on Saturday.

“We also know we have good freshmen. They are getting a little better with every time-out, and Meredith really stepped up tonight and had a great game,” Gobrecht said.

Yale has six games remaining before their Ivy League opener against Brown on Jan. 19, including a road trip to Georgetown and Sacred Heart over winter break.

“It’s getting close to [Ivy League play], so this win is going to boost our confidence,” Vasquez said.

Yale will travel to Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. this Saturday to take on the St. Francis Tarheels. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.

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