Vasquez Nabs First-Team Honors; Cashen Earns Honorable Mention Recognition
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Three players on the Yale University women's basketball team have been honored by the Ivy League today after the trio helped lead the Bulldogs to a 16-win season, matching the most victories in a season in the program's history.
Freshman guard Sarah Halejian (Wyckoff, N.J.) was named the Ivy League's Rookie of the Year. Junior guard Megan Vasquez (Merrick, N.Y.) earned a spot on the All-Ivy League First Team, while senior captain Michelle Cashen (Belle Harbor, N.Y.) earned All-Ivy Honorable Mention recognition.
"Megan really had a great year. Her game took a huge step forward this year and she really deserves the recognition," said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "I'm happy Michelle will get to finish her career at Yale with All-Ivy recognition. A lot was asked of Michelle this year and she dug deep to deliver. Sarah was the most important freshman for her team, I believe, and that makes her very deserving. She will be even better next year and we can't wait to get started!"
For all three Bulldogs, the honors are somewhat rare in Yale's 39-year history.
Halejian is just the fourth Yale player to earn Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors. The other three Yale Rookies of the Year are Melissa Colborne (2006-07), Katy Grubbs, (1995-96) and Mary Kalich (1991-92).
Vasquez becomes one of only six Yale players to earn First Team honors more than once in her career. Vasquez is the first Yale player to do so since Mary Kalich in 1992-93 and 1993-94. The other four are Tonya Lawrence (1987-88, 88-89, 89-90), Sue Johnson (1983-84, 84-85), Margy Hutchinson (1981-82, 82-83) and Lisa Brummel (1979-80, 80-81).
Cashen is one of only four Yale players to earn All-Ivy honors in each of her four years at Yale. She joins Katy Grubbs (1995-1998), Mary Kalich (1991-95) and Regina Sullivan (1979-83) to record an All-Ivy honor in each of her four years with the Bulldogs. Cashen was named to the All-Rookie Team as a freshman. She also earned All-Ivy Second Team honors as a sophomore, and Honorable Mention recognition as a junior.
Halejian played in all 28 games for the Bulldogs, starting 22 of them, including starts in the final 20 games of the season. Overall, she averaged 8.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists. In Ivy League play, she averaged 8.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists. Her best month of the season came in a seven-game stretch in January where she averaged 12.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists, earning four consecutive Rookie of the Week honors in the month. She ended the season with six Ivy League Rookie of the Week awards, tying the Yale record for the most Rookie of the Week awards in a season by a single player.
"It was a great first year and I already realize how lucky I am to be a part of the Yale basketball program," Halejian said. "It was awesome to play under our coaching staff and with such a great group of teammates. We will only continue to grow from here, and I really look forward to the next three years. As for the honor, I have my coaches and teammates to thank for making me better and pushing me every day. I am also so grateful for my family and many other supporters who followed me and the team all season. I'm honored to receive this accolade and look forward to contributing more to the program in the future."
Vasquez led the team in scoring for the third consecutive season. She finished fourth in the Ivy League in scoring, averaging 15.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists overall. In Ivy League games, she averaged 17.1 points, which was second-best among Ivy League leaders, 4.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists. She became the 17th player in Yale history to surpass 1,000 career points, passing the mark against Cornell on Feb. 10. She finished the season with 1,117 points, which currently places her in 11th place on Yale's all-time scoring list.
Her historic weekend turned out to be her best of the season and one of the most dominating pair of games in her three-year career. She scored 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting against Cornell on Feb. 10, with three rebounds and four assists. She was also 4-for-7 from 3-point range, and she reached the 1,000-point mark with her first free throw with 13:34 left in the game. She followed that with an even more dominating performance against Columbia on Feb. 11. She scored a career-high 28 points on 9-of-16 shooting, 6-of-8 from 3-point range, with five rebounds and four assists. She was named the Ivy League's Player of the Week following that stellar weekend.
"It's an honor to be recognized as First Team All-Ivy," Vasquez said. "The league was the most competitive that it has been since I've been at Yale. There were so many great players to choose from and I'm grateful to be selected."
Overall, Vasquez finished the season with nine games in which she scored 20 or more points. She now has 14 20-point performances in her career.
Cashen played in 110 games in her Yale career, starting in 83 of those contests. During her four years in a Yale uniform, she has recorded a total of 831 points, 642 rebounds, 210 assists, 133 steals and 66 blocks. She finished her career in ninth place among Yale's career leaders in rebounds. In Ivy League competition this season, she ranked 22nd in scoring (8.8 ppg.), sixth in assists (2.9 apg.), seventh in rebounding (6.2 rpg.), seventh in defensive rebounds (4.5 drpg.), seventh in shooting percentage (45.0 percent), 10th in blocks (0.6 bpg), and 13th in steals (1.5 spg.). She recorded one double-double this season and eight double-doubles in her career.
"It's a wonderful feeling to be honored in my final season and to end my career like this," Cashen said. "As for earning Ivy recognition every year in my career, I can really only attribute that accomplishment to the great teammates and coaches I've had over my four years and the support and advice they've given me."
The Bulldogs finished the season with an overall record of 16-12, 8-6 in Ivy League play. They entered the final weekend with a chance to earn their second consecutive automatic bid in the WNIT.
2011-12 All-Ivy Women's Basketball Team
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity