Ivy League Honors Yale Trio
Graf, Halejian Nab Weekly Honors; Vasquez Earns Place on Honor Roll
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Yale University women's basketball team is still reaping the rewards from pulling off a weekend road sweep of Ivy League rivals Harvard and Dartmouth.
With strong performances up and down the roster, there proved to be a plethora of options for the Ivy League's weekly awards. When the Ivy League made its announcement on Monday, it chose to honor a trio of Bulldogs. Yale's sophomore guard Janna Graf was named the Ivy League Player of the Week and freshman guard Sarah Halejian was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week. Junior guard Megan Vasquez earned a place on the Ivy League's weekly Honor Roll.
It is the first time this season and second time in her career that Graf has earned the Ivy League's Player of the Week honor. She won both the Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week awards on Jan. 17, 2011. Graf, a unanimous All-Ivy Rookie Team selection last season, is Yale's first Player of the Week this season and its first since Vasquez shared the award with Brown's Sheila Dixon on Feb. 28, 2011. It is also Graf's first Ivy League weekly honor since she won the Rookie of the Week award on Feb. 14, 2011.
Graf, a guard who has played out of her natural wing position all season to handle the power forward duties, averaged 17.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.0 assist in the two road victories for the Bulldogs. Graf shot 4-of-7 from 3-point range and tallied 16 points, 8 rebounds, three steals and one assist to lead Yale to a 68-63 win at Harvard, Yale's third straight win over Harvard and second straight win over the Crimson in Cambridge, Mass. Graf then contributed 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range, along with six rebounds in the Bulldogs' 89-65 win at Dartmouth.
For her performances over the weekend, Graf was also named the Ivy League's Player of the Week by CollegeSportsMadness.com.
For Halejian, she wins her fourth straight Rookie of the Week honor, becoming the first player since Princeton's Niveen Rasheed accomplished the feat from Nov. 16-Dec. 7, 2009. Halejian has won the Rookie of the Week award five times so far this season, which leaves her one shy of Yale's record of six Rookie of the Week awards held by Katy Grubbs (1995-96) and Melissa Colborne (2006-07). Both former Bulldogs went on to win the Ivy League's Rookie of the Year that season.
Vasquez, an All-Ivy First Team selection last season, earned a spot on the Ivy League's weekly Honor Roll after averaging 19.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 steals in the two games. She scored a game-high 23 points, matching her season-high, to lead the Bulldogs past Dartmouth on Sunday. She scored seven of her points in the deciding 26-1 run at the start of the second half. She also helped the Bulldogs stay within striking distance in the first half, scoring 11 of her points in the half. At Harvard Friday night, Vasquez scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Yale to the come-from-behind win.
While the trio deserved recognition, Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball, didn't want to forget the play of senior captain Michelle Cashen, whose defensive effort in both games proved to be a big factor in securing the two victories. Cashen averaged 7.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 6.0 defensive rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.0 blocks in the two games.
"One of the expressions my team hears me say often is that when it comes to our team, 'it takes a village…' We are certainly at our best when everyone is contributing," Gobrecht said. "And when Megan, Janna, and Michelle step up like they did this past weekend, we are very tough. Megan found ways to score when we needed it most; Michelle battled in the post both offensively and defensively, and Janna was tough in every way: shooting the ball, working the boards and staying active defensively. Those players are our leaders.
"Sarah gives us an extra dimension that we have not had in the past. It is the sum of our parts that leads to our success, so I think all the players feel a part of any individual player's recognition."