Seniors Altered Record Books, Changed Culture

Haywood Wright, Ashley Carter and Melissa Colborne (photo by David Silverman/
Haywood Wright, Ashley Carter and Melissa Colborne (photo by David Silverman/

This Saturday, Yale women’s basketball will honor a trio of seniors taking the court at the John J. Lee Amphitheater for the final time: two whose statistics speak for themselves and a third whose numbers don’t even begin to tell her story. Melissa Colborne, Haywood Wright and team captain Ashley Carter, the Bulldogs’ Class of 2010, joined a team coming off of a 3-24 season, and have since been a part of 43 victories donning Yale blue, including wins over teams representing 11 different conferences

Put simply, Melissa Colborne is one of the best offensive players in the 37 seasons of varsity women’s basketball at Yale. She ranks fifth all-time at Yale with 1,373 career points, having finished second in the Ivy League in scoring in both her sophomore and junior seasons. The 2006-07 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, Colborne is Yale’s all-time leader in career free throws made (471) and attempted (628), and holds single game records with 14 made free throws in a contest as well as two 12-for-12 performances at the charity stripe. The first Canadian-born player in program history, she is on track to finish her career with the most games played (111) and the second-most games started (103) at Yale. Colborne, a 2007-08 First Team All-Ivy honoree and a two-time recipient of the team’s Most Valuable Player Award, also ranks sixth all-time at Yale with 52 career blocked shots.

Despite having her junior season cut short by injury- an injury that also claimed seven games from her senior year- Haywood Wright has made her mark in the Yale record books as well. The Irvine, Calif. native has posted a remarkable 107 blocked shots in her career, slotting her two rejections shy of second place on the Bulldogs’ all-time list. As a junior, Wright was on pace for an All-Ivy caliber season, arguably even a Defensive Player of the Year selection, before being sidelined for the final seven games. At the time of her injury, Wright was averaging 9.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest and led the Ivy League with 34 blocks. She has battled back to post 4.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in her senior year while also swatting 20 shots in 17 games. Coach Gobrecht’s choice for the team’s 2008-09 Most Improved Player Award, the 6’2 forward has also established herself as a shooting threat with 22 three-pointers made in the past three seasons.

Ashley Carter’s name won’t appear among the Bulldogs’ all-time statistical leaders, but her contributions to the success of Yale women’s basketball run much deeper than points and rebounds. Carter came to the Yale women’s basketball team as a freshman walk-on and earned a slot in the starting lineup for 10 games in her rookie campaign. A tenacious defender often charged with slowing the opposing team’s primary ball-handler, Carter’s drive and determination have been evident on game day and in practices since day one. The recipient of the team’s Most Improved Player Award after her sophomore season, Carter’s rise from walk-on to 2009-10 team captain proves that hard work and dedication have been just as vital to the Bulldogs’ success as the numbers in the boxscore. Carter will leave Yale among the all-time leaders in games played with 103 career appearances to date.