WOMEN’S BASKETBALL | Historic sweep for the Elis

Guard Sarah Halejian ’15 scored 12 points in Yale’s victory over Columbia on Saturday.
Guard Sarah Halejian ’15 scored 12 points in Yale’s victory over Columbia on Saturday. Photo by Maria Zepeda.

When Yale women’s basketball hosted Cornell last season, it was a historic night for the Bulldogs. Coach Chris Gobrecht recorded her 500th career win, and guard Megan Vasquez ’13 tallied her 1,000th career point in an 86-73 win over the Big Red.

Almost exactly one year later, in a game Friday night in Ithaca, Vasquez reached another historic landmark, netting her 1,300th point and propelling the Elis (9-13, 4-4 Ivy) to a 67-58 win. Vasquez became the eighth player in the history of the program to reach this milestone, finishing the night with 15 points in Yale’s eighth consecutive win over Cornell (11-10, 3-4 Ivy).

Following the win, the Elis travelled to Columbia (3-18, 1-6 Ivy) on Saturday and took down the Lions 62-43.

“1300 points is significant but I think Megan is just very focused on her team’s success right now,” Gobrecht said. “She did a great job handling the defensive pressure of both Cornell and Columbia and is really feeling the rhythm of the game again.”

Both teams came out strong and the game remained tight through the first half. The Bulldogs managed to secure a 27-19 lead with just under two minutes remaining in the first, but the Big Red made up some ground to pull within four at 27-23 heading into halftime.

Cornell maintained their momentum to start the second half and pulled out to a five point lead midway through the half. Forward Janna Graf ’14 caught fire just after the 10 minute mark. After sinking a jump shot, she never looked back, scoring 12 of her 13 points in the final 10 minutes to secure a 67-58 win for the Bulldogs.

Graf finished the game with 13 points and 6 rebounds, while Vasquez and captain Allie Messimer ’13 added 15 and 10 points, respectively. Forward Meredith Boardman ’16 led the rebounding for the Bulldogs, pulling down 10.

“Our success this weekend came from playing team basketball,” guard Sarah Halejian ’15 said. “We had a balanced scoring attack in both games and also helped each other out defensively when we needed to.”

On Saturday, the Bulldogs made the trip to Columbia to take on the Lions. Four Bulldogs finished the game in double figures, and center Zenab Keita ’14 was one rebound shy of her second double-double of the season with 11 points and nine rebounds.

The Bulldogs rushed out to a dominant 38-17 first half lead and never relented, besting the Lions in all offensive categories. The Elis shot 43.1 percent from the field and grabbed 40 rebounds on their way to a convincing 62-43 win.

The balanced scoring continued to be a theme for the Elis. Keita and Graf each scored 11, while Vasquez and Halejian chipped in 12 apiece. Keita and Halejian led the Elis on the boards with nine and seven rebounds, respectively.

“This weekend was all about sharing the ball and playing as a team,” Messimer said. “Our coach really had us focus on each other and it took us a long way. We took care of the boards and helped each other a lot on defense.”

The weekend sweep on the road gives the Elis much-needed momentum heading into another away weekend against Harvard and Dartmouth. Despite second half comebacks against both teams earlier in the season, the Elis came up short in both games.

“We really want to get back at Harvard and Dartmouth,” Messimer said. “The second round in the Ivy League is always exciting. We just need to keep having fun and sharing the ball and the momentum will follow.”

Friday’s game is set to tip-off at 7:00 p.m. at Dartmouth.

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