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ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Yale women open Ivy League vs. Brown Friday

By Bill Cloutier
Assistant Sports Editor
bcloutier@nhregister.com
Yale coach Chris Gobrecht intentionally schedules a grueling non-league slate to get her team ready when the Ivy League season starts. The problem this year is that practically nothing could prepare her team for this season’s cheduling quirks.
Yale opens up Ivy League play tonight at Brown, at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs then host the Bears next week before playing the next four league games back on the road.
“There’s no question I’m concerned about it,” Gobrecht said. “I’m on the women’s basketball Division I advisory committee and I try to get people to understand how tough you have to be to compete in the Ivy League. We play back-to-back games. We have road trips that it seems like you’re on buses endlessly.
“So doing five out of your first six on the road we just have to be really tough. We can’t have excuses. We can’t be babies about it we’ve just got to buckle down and get it done. The good thing about is we get to be home at the end but what’s hard when you open up with so many on the road you don’t want to be out of it before you’ve got into well into the league.”
Yale went 10-4 in the Ivy League last year finishing second place behind powerhouse Princeton which is not only the favorite to repeat their league title for the third straight season but is also teetering on the brink of national prominence. The Tigers are 27-1 in Ivy League play over the past two seasons and Gobrecht thinks they could be even better this year.
But Gobrecht, whose team enters league play 8-6, has done her best to get her team ready for the ensuing onslaught. She’s traveled to Delaware, Florida State and top-ranked Baylor this year.
“Everytime you arrange your preseason you try to get some games you’re pretty sure you’re going to win,” she said. “Then you put in those games that you’re likely to lose and then have a good percentage of 50-50 games. When you go through it you would like to win the games you’re supposed to win and win more than your share of the 50-50 games and then get some upsets.
“The only thing we didn’t do was get the upsets. We won our share of the other games but those upsets would have had to have happened at Baylor and at Delaware and at Florida State and that probably wasn’t going to happen.”
But Gobrecht said she feels that playing elite teams like Baylor at the very least will give her team lasting memories.
“We had a good time and I think the team we’ll always be able to take with them that in 2011 we played the two best players in collegiate women’s basketball in Baylor’s Brittney Griner and Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne and that will be a thrill that they carry with them a long time,” Gobrecht said.
Yale swept Brown (9-4) last season but Gobrecht feels the Bears are improving.
“We had a really tough time with them both times last year and they’re more experienced this year,” she said. “They play great together and they’re deceptive and effective and they’re preseason record proves it.”
The Bulldogs are also battling a few injuries including a concussion to freshman Hayden Latham suffered against Florida State. The injury still irks Gobrecht.
“There was a player at Florida State that took a real cheap shot at her and we’re not happy about it,” Gobrecht said. “She’s been out since that game we’re not sure when we’ll have her back.”
With its second-place finish last season Yale earned a berth in the WNIT, its first national postseason bid.
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