After this weekend, Webster’s Dictionary may have to update its definition of revenge with a picture of the Bulldogs.
After losing by two to Brown (3-13, 1-1 Ivy) at home last week, the Elis (8-8, 1-1) dialed up the intensity in Providence, R.I., on Friday night and steamrolled the Bears for a 34-point victory, 71-37.
“I felt that in the last couple of days, we finally started getting back to the team that I used to know,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “I used to use the words tough and smart to describe them, but then it disappeared for a long time.”
She said those attributes started to show up again in practice this week.
“They were paying attention and using their basketball intelligence again,” Gobrecht said. “When I saw that come back, I knew we were gonna win the game.”
That new focus and attention to detail might have come from their hard training session a day after the loss to Brown last week. Less than 12 hours after the game, the Elis had a track meet of a practice, running laborious sets of sprints for their sloppy play.
“After all that running and a couple days to think about the loss, we realized that we need to focus and take things seriously if we want to win games and be competitive with everyone,” forward Mady Gobrecht ’11 said. “The thing is, we’re talented, but no matter who we play, we have to work our butts off and stay in that focused mind-set going into every game.”
That hard work paid special dividends on the defensive side of the ball this weekend. When the Bears came into John J. Lee Amphitheater just a week ago, they shot a blazing 48.6 percent in the first half and built up a lead that later proved insurmountable. But on Friday, the Bulldogs limited Brown to 21.6 percent shooting and, as a result, only 37 points on the night. The last time Yale held opponents to fewer points was 13 seasons ago.
“In our style of defense, if you had one player who wasn’t focused or was taking the play off, then it affects the entire scheme of our team defense,” Chris Gobrecht said. “We were so complacent defensively last week against Brown that [the Bears] just felt great — they were happy and comfortable. They were never comfortable last night.”
Amid all the focus on defense was a special offensive milestone that has been a long time coming. With 12:56 left in the second half, forward Melissa Colborne ’10 drove to the basket and lofted a short jumper that found the bottom of the net, giving her 13 points on the night and 1,000 for her Yale career.
“Mel’s a really hard worker who deserves nothing less,” forward Michelle Cashen ’12 said. “She’s a huge offensive threat and can score in a multitude of ways, whether in the post, off a drive or from a jump shot. I hope she gets 2,000.”
The team as a whole clicked for the entire game and two other players finished in double figures — forward Haywood Wright ’10 earned her second double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds, and guard Ashley Carter ’10 had a career-high 13 points, with nine rebounds off the bench.
“She was just everywhere — on the boards, out in transition, forcing turnovers, hitting jumpshots and even banking in a three-pointer,” Chris Gobrecht said of Carter.
A noticeable name missing from the scoring sheet was captain and guard Jamie Van Horne ’09, who had a tough shooting night. Interestingly, whenever the Bulldogs have won against Brown, she has struggled to find the range. On the other hand, the captain has historically shot lights-out whenever Brown triumphs in the encounter. Indeed, when the captain went 7-7 from beyond the arch in her sophomore year, tying the NCAA record while setting a new Ivy League mark for three-point percentage, she did it in a losing effort to Brown. But on Friday, the team rallied around her and picked up the slack.
“We won because of our effort and our defense — because we played like a team,” Van Horne said. “I will do anything to help this team win and it isn’t always just shooting the ball well. What makes this team dominant is our effort, attitude, and intelligence — when we get those things going for us, we’re pretty tough to beat.”
Effort and teamwork were certainly not lacking in Providence. If the Bulldogs can continue playing that way, then they will certainly be a force with which to be reckoned for the rest of this Ivy League season.