The 37th season of Yale women’s basketball begins tonight as the Bulldogs take on the College of the Holy Cross at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

But despite not having played a game yet this season, the injury bug has already hit a team that was marred by injuries last season on the way to a seventh place finish in the Ivy League.

“There have been a lot of injuries in the preseason,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “We’re not100 percent as a team.”

Many of the injuries this year date back to last year’s difficulties. Forward Lindsey Williams ’11, a unanimous 2007-’08 All-Ivy Rookie Team selection, missed all of last season due to injuries in both knees. She is expected to miss a few more weeks while recovering from multiple surgeries.

Additionally, forwards Haywood Wright ’10 and Mady Gobrecht ’11 and guard Yoyo Greenfield ’11, all returning starters, are expected to miss part of the beginning of the season due to injury.

Still, coach Gobrecht said she is optimistic regardless of all the bad news.

“We have been able to give the freshmen some reps in practice,” Gobrecht said. “The best part is that we’re pretty good now, and we’re going to get a lot better.”

Unlike last year, this year the team can rely on a large and nationally recognized freshmen class to add more depth. Guards Megan Vasquez ’13, Aarica West ’13 and Allie Messimer ’13, along with forwards Alicia Seelaus ’13, Emily Wanger ’13 and Ericka von Kaeppler ’13 are also expected to make immediate contributions.

“I think they’re going to be huge,” Gobrecht said of her freshmen.

The six freshmen give the Bulldogs another dimension to complement the returning veterans, particularly given their physical abilities, Williams said, citing the freshmen’s athletic ability.

The rookies will be needed this season as the Bulldogs face a strong schedule, which includes five teams that participated in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs will face an experienced Holy Cross team on Friday in their first game of the season. Last year, the Elis narrowly defeated Holy Cross 65–63.

Gobrecht said she has confidence in this year’s team and expects the squad to succeed despite early injury troubles.

“I don’t think I’ve ever coached a team that learns as fast or works as hard,” Gobrecht said. “I think that we can contend for the Ivy Championship.”

The game begins at 7:30 p.m.