Yale Names Janna Graf Captain for 2013-14 Season

Janna Graf. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Janna Graf. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Becomes 36th Captain in 41 Seasons of Women's Basketball at Yale

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Yale University women's basketball team announced Friday that guard Janna Graf (Mission Woods, Kan./Shawnee Mission East) has been named the team's captain for the upcoming 2013-14 season.

Graf will enter her senior season as the 36th captain in the 41st season of women's basketball at Yale, as voted upon by her teammates. The 6-0 guard has played in 82 games in her Yale career with 76 starts. She was honored twice in her three seasons by the Ivy League, first as a unanimous All-Ivy League Rookie Team selection in 2010-11 and most recently as an All-Ivy League Honorable Mention selection this past season.

"It is a great honor to be elected team captain for next season," Graf said. "For me, Yale basketball has been a fantastic personal experience and I look forward to the chance to carry on the same type of leadership I witnessed from our seniors over the last three years. We continue to have the best group of teammates and the best coaching staff around. We all look forward to new challenges and goals as we try to get even better as a team in the coming year."

In her three seasons, Graf has averaged 10.8 points and 5.2 rebounds. She was second on the team in scoring this season with 12.1 points per game and led the Bulldogs in rebounding with 5.4 rebounds per game.

"Janna Graf has shown this team how to play 'Bulldog Basketball' ever since arriving at Yale," said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "Her tough, hard-working approach to the game has always been a model for her teammates. She is a great choice for captain in her senior year and will have the honor of leading an excellent Yale team to perhaps its finest season ever!"

The announcement comes after the team held its annual team banquet last weekend as a final tribute to captain Allie Messimer and Megan Vasquez, who will leave Yale as the No. 6 all-time leading scorer with 1,413 career points.

Throughout Sunday's banquet, the coaches and players paid tribute to their graduating seniors with speeches and special presentations. The coaching staff honored all 13 players with year-end letter awards. It was the second consecutive season in which the entire team received a Major-Y letter award.

The Bulldogs ended the 2012-13 season short of their goal of reaching postseason play, but there was a great deal to be proud of out of a season that ended with an 8-6 Ivy League record and a 13-15 overall finish, a finish that included seven wins in the final 10 games.

In the four-year careers of Messimer and Vasquez, Yale won a total of 56 games, the second-highest total of victories in a four-year span in the program's history. Vasquez and Messimer helped lead the Bulldogs to 34 Ivy League wins in that four-year span, which is the highest total of Ivy League wins by any graduating class in Yale's history.

The award portion of the banquet ended with Gobrecht handing out the team's major awards, which included the "Bulldog Basketball Awards."

Rather than present awards for Most Valuable Player or Defensive Player of the Year, the women's basketball team rewards players for their contributions on the court with "Bulldog Basketball Awards." Those special honors are presented to the players who performed best in the areas of the game most valued by the Bulldogs.

The awards presented at the banquet included:

Most Improved Player (Awarded to that member of the women's basketball team who, in the opinion of the coaches, has shown the most improvement during the season): Janna Graf, who started all 28 games for the Bulldogs, averaging 12.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, with a team-high 45 steals and 11 blocks. Graf scored in double figures in 19 of the 28 games, including a season-high 19 points twice in the final four games of the season.

Outstanding Leadership Award (Awarded annually to that member of the women's basketball team who, in the opinion of her teammates, through her spirit, hustle, attitude, desire and determination has served as an inspiration to the team): Allie Messimer

Karen Yarasavage Award (Presented to the player who most displays the attributes of grit, determination and Bulldog spirit that were embodied by Karen Yarasavage during her career at Yale): Alexandra Osborn-Jones

Bulldog Basketball Awards
  • Charge Takes: Janna Graf
  • Rebounds: Janna Graf, led the team in rebounding with 5.4 rebounds per game (10th in the Ivy League). She was also ninth in the Ivy League in defensive rebounds (3.4 per game) and eighth in offensive rebounds (2.0 per game).
  • Free Throw Percentage: Megan Vasquez, led the team with a .830 free-throw shooting percentage, which was fourth among Ivy League leaders.
  • Assists: Megan Vasquez, led the team in assists with 3.0 assists per game (fourth in the Ivy League) and an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.3 (third in the Ivy League).

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity