STONY BROOK, N.Y. — Any time there are more fouls in a basketball game than minutes, there are going to be problems. In a game in which the two teams tallied a mind-boggling 55 fouls in just 40 minutes of play, the Bulldogs dropped a tough last-minute loss, 73-68, to Stony Brook, an opponent they should have handily defeated.
“We got out-performed tonight,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said in a press release. “We got outworked. Tonight was a wake-up call for our team.”
Indeed, the Seawolves (1-7) were sounding alarm bells all night as they dominated facets of Yale’s game that would normally be instrumental to the Elis’ run-and-gun offense. In their previous seven games, the Seawolves were out-rebounded by their opponents by an average of 13 boards per game. But on Monday, Stony Brook out-rebounded Yale (3-4, 0-0 Ivy) by six rebounds.
The Seawolves simply pushed around Yale’s frontcourt players in the second half, which was instrumental to their late comeback. Stony Brook guard Misha Horsey, who scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half, put the Seawolves up by one with 2:35 remaining in the game for their first lead since early in the first half. Yale would go on to tie the game at 66, but that was as close as they got as the Seawolves converted a three-point play off an offensive rebound that put the game away.
“That team should not have had 17 offensive boards on us — there’s no excuse for that,” forward Haywood Wright ’10 said. “They’re a small team and we should have been even on the boards with them.”
Yale is a small team, but their success on the glass is usually characterized by solid effort and a team-rebounding approach to outwork taller opponents and spark their fast breaks. But on Monday night, the Bulldogs only managed two fast-break points and tallied 22 turnovers. Combined with the rebounding deficit, Stony Brook was simply out-hustling the Bulldogs. When asked about what made the difference in the game, captain and guard Jamie Van Horne ’09 echoed the coach’s sentiments.
“Desire to win,” she said. “I don’t think we worked as hard as they did.”
While the Bulldogs may not have been working as hard, the referees certainly did. In a sign of things to come, four fouls were called in the opening two minutes, a span when most teams are trying to establish their respective game plans. The Bulldogs’ fast-paced style is reliant upon out-running opponents, but when the clock is constantly being stopped by whistles, it becomes difficult to establish that kind of offensive rhythm. In a four-minute span towards the beginning of the second half, nine consecutive fouls were called whenever an offensive player drove to the basket.
While the players declined to comment on the officiating, many did feel that it was difficult to execute their game plan with the constant whistles and ensuing foul-trouble.
“With that many fouls, it’s just going to be an ugly game,” Van Horne said. “The game wasn’t very fluid and it really affected how we play. I thought that down the stretch, we just abandoned our game plan and ended up playing pretty hectically on offense and defense.”
The mounting fouls were particularly frustrating for Yale’s low post players, as starting forward Mady Gobrecht ’11 fouled out of the game and Wright was booked for four fouls midway through the second half. The foul troubles made for some hodgepodge lineups as the Bulldogs were forced, at times, to put four perimeter players into the game with one front court player to anchor the lines.
“Because of the foul trouble, we had some interesting lineups that weren’t used to playing together and we didn’t communicate very well,” Van Horne said. “Communication and taking care of the things we can’t control is very important, especially in Ivy League games where scores are so close.”
Some of the only positives that Yale can take away from the game are the stellar performances of Wright and forward Melissa Colborne ’10. Wright’s first double-double of the season was sparked by a first-half performance of 12 points and nine rebounds. When foul troubles limited her in the second half, Colborne picked up the slack and scored 18 of her game-high 24 points in that period. Colborne made several beautiful drives to the basket to keep the Bulldogs in the game as the clock wound down and she was perfect from the line, going 12 of 12 on free throws. But that was not enough and the Elis will have forget this ugly loss and regroup for Wednesday’s match-up against Army in West Point, N.Y.
“We need to be tougher and learn from this game,” Van Horne said. “We just have to move on now and focus on winning the next game.”