WOMEN’S BASKETBALL | Bulldogs split in Lanman

Megan Vasquez ’13 led the Elis with 15 points and made all 10 of her free throws, including eight in the final minute to seal Yale’s win over Penn.
Megan Vasquez ’13 led the Elis with 15 points and made all 10 of her free throws, including eight in the final minute to seal Yale’s win over Penn. Photo by Kamaria Greenfield.

After several postponements and a change of venue, Yale women’s basketball wrapped up another weekend of Ivy play in a split with Penn and Princeton.

The Bulldogs (7–13, 2–4 Ivy) earned their second conference win of the season in a matchup against Penn Saturday night. The game was rescheduled from Friday night due to the storm, and a leaky roof above the John J. Lee Amphitheater forced a last-minute move to the Lanman Center, the four-court gymnasium in Payne Whitney.

“Playing in Lanman is very different. It can be difficult to focus, but I think we did a good job of overcoming the change,” captain Allie Messimer ’13 said.

Despite the unexpected changes, the Elis responded to the adversity with a solid 40 minutes of play. The Bulldogs gained the lead early when forward Janna Graf ’14 hit a jumper at the 17:23 mark in the first to put Yale up 7–6. The Elis never looked back, holding onto the lead for the rest of the game.

The Quakers (10–9, 3–2 Ivy) applied a full court press early and often, but they were unable to slow the Bulldogs down. The Elis managed a 17–2 run to put them 11 points ahead of Penn with 8:42 remaining in the first half. The Quakers briefly regained their footing at the end of the period, pulling within seven behind an eight-point scoring effort from forward Kara Boneneberger. But forward Meredith Boardman ’16 and guard Megan Vasquez ’13 hit jumpers in the final minute to push the Bulldogs’ halftime lead back to 11.

“We have a lot of great ball handlers on this team,” Messimer said. “Megan and Sarah did a great job of getting the ball inbounds and pushing right through the middle of their press.”

The Quakers continued to press and apply on-ball pressure in the second half, testing the Bulldog guards. While Penn managed to pull within three at 47–44 with 7:24 left to play, the Yale guards responded with an explosive offensive performance. Vasquez and Sarah Halejian ’15 combined to score Yale’s final 18 points of the game, finishing the game with 15 and 11, respectively.

Vasquez’s performance at the free throw line proved to be the difference for the Elis. She was a perfect 10-for-10 from the line, with four of her trips coming in the final minute of the game.

Graf added 11 points to the Yale offensive effort, while Messimer and center Zenab Keita ’14 each chipped in eight. Keita was a force on the boards for the Elis, grabbing 11 rebounds, and the Bulldogs out-rebounded the Quakers in the game, 44–27.

“The whole weekend was a little crazy and weird but the Penn game won’t be forgotten soon,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “We rebounded very well and that was key.”

On Sunday, Yale hosted Princeton, the reigning Ivy League Champions. The Tigers returned 2011-’12 Ivy Player of the Year Niveen Rasheed ’13, who had a career night with 29 points against the Elis.

Princeton (14-5, 5-0 Ivy) came out of the gate strong and never slowed down. The Tigers started the game on a 20–0 run and held the Bulldogs scoreless for six minutes into the first half.

While the Elis eventually found their scoring touch, the Tigers continued to overpower the Bulldogs and they charged into halftime with a commanding 56–26 lead.

The Bulldogs struggled to contain Princeton all night and allowed their opponents to shoot 58.6 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc. The Tigers, who led by over 30 for the entire second half, overwhelmed the Elis, and walked away with a 99–53 win.

Graf led the scoring for the Bulldogs with 14 points and five rebounds, while Halejian and Vasquez chipped in 11 each.

With the split this weekend the Elis fall to 2–4 in the league. They will travel to Cornell and Columbia next weekend to take on both teams for the first time this season.

“This team wants to play hard, play together and always get better,” Gobrecht said. “We’ll see where that takes us.”

Friday’s game at Cornell is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m.

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