After a season of milestones, the women’s basketball team enters the final weekend of the season on the verge of breaking one most important records in team history.
Yale’s win at Cornell last Saturday gave the Elis (16–10, 8–4 Ivy) its 16th win of the season, tying the University’s record for most wins in a season for women’s basketball. With a victory Friday against Princeton or Saturday against Penn, the 2011-’12 Bulldogs will move into sole possession of the single-season wins record.
“We have the opportunity to break the wins record for the season and we’re excited about that,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said.
The last time Yale finished the season with 16 wins was in 1994, when the Elis finished 16–10. This year’s team has already matched one of the 1993-’94 squad’s feats when it finished its nonconference schedule with eight wins, the most in 18 years for the Bulldogs.
The wins record is not the team’s only goal. Yale currently sits in second place in the Ivy League, a half-game ahead of Harvard. First-place Princeton (21–4, 11–0 Ivy), has clinched the Ivy League title for the third-straight season, but the second place finisher is awarded a bid to play in the postseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament. The Bulldogs earned their first bid to the WNIT last year and are looking for a repeat trip.
To get there, the Elis may have to beat the Tigers, who lost only one conference game in the past three seasons. Although the Elis lead the Crimson by a half-game, the Cantabs face Cornell, Columbia and Dartmouth, three teams with losing records, in the coming week, while the Bulldogs face off against the defending champs.
“Harvard is more in the driver’s seat than we are,” Gobrecht said. “But I think our team’s top priority for the final weekend is to continue to demonstrate the excellence that has marked our whole season.”
Last time Yale played Princeton, the Bulldogs fell to the Tigers, 72–47. Princeton, with its players’ superior height, controlled the game from the opening whistle, and the Elis face a stiff challenge in the rematch. The Tigers have played only one game this conference season that was decided by less than 25 points, a 57–45 win against Brown at the beginning of February.
Yale has had better luck against Penn (11–14, 4–7 Ivy) this season. In the teams’ earlier matchup, the Bulldogs came back from a halftime deficit to win by 12 points at Penn’s Palestra. Guard Megan Vasquez ’13 scored 17 points in the second half to lead the Bulldogs back to victory. Vasquez has led the Elis in scoring this year with an average of 15.3 points per game, and she currently sits in fourth place among Ivy scoring leaders, only 0.2 points behind Dartmouth guard Faziah Steen.
Captain Michelle Cashen ’12 will play her final home games this weekend. The senior has won All-Ivy honors in each of her three full seasons at Yale and is averaging 8.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game for the Bulldogs in her final season.
Going into the last pair of games in the regular season, guard Sarah Halejian ’15 said the Bulldogs will give everything they’ve got.
“We want to leave it all out on the court,” she said. “We want to walk out of there with no regrets.”
Tipoff for Friday’s and Saturday’s games is scheduled for 7:00 p.m at the Lee Amphitheater.