Vasquez, Messimer Lifted Yale Women’s Basketball to New Heights

Seniors Megan Vasquez, left, and Captain Allie Messimer (photo by Dave Silverman, DSPICS.com)

Bulldogs to Pay Tribute to Their Two Seniors Prior to Facing Cornell in Home Finale

 
 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — When they first stepped onto the court inside John J. Lee Amphitheater, they were a freshmen class of five exceptional basketball players, and all played a part in raising the level of expectations and success for the women's basketball program at Yale University.

This weekend, the two remaining players from that class will play the final home games of their spectacular careers at Yale. Yale Women's Basketball will pay tribute to Captain Allie Messimer and Megan Vasquez during Senior Night ceremonies prior to Saturday's game against Cornell.

When Vasquez and Messimer step onto the John J. Lee Amphitheater court for the final time in a Yale uniform Saturday night, there will certainly be some thoughts of their fellow classmates — Alicia Seelaus, Ericka von Kaeppler and Aarica West — as they take part in the Senior Night ceremonies and play the final home game of their careers. While Messimer and Vasquez are the only two remaining players on the women's basketball team, all five contributed to the rise of Yale Women's Basketball over the last four years.

During their time at Yale, Vasquez and Messimer have made outstanding contributions to Yale Women's Basketball, both on and off the court. Entering this weekend, the Class of 2013 has recorded 53 wins overall and 31 Ivy League victories, the most victories by a single class since the Class of 1996 and the most Ivy League victories since the Class of 1989.

"Megan and Allie will be very hard to say goodbye to," said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "Both have impacted this program in huge, but different, ways. Megan has been our court leader and one of our star performers since arriving at Yale four years ago. She has helped to elevate Yale to new heights in the Ivy League. Allie leads on and off the court and is one of the finest ambassadors for our program we've ever had."

Messimer, a senior, from The Woodlands, Texas, is a resident of Morse College and will graduate in May with a degree in Economics. She is the 35th captain in the 40-year history of Yale Women's Basketball. A true leader on and off of the court, she has coordinated the community relations efforts for Yale Women's Basketball, and throughout her four years, she has presided over the planning of the Yale Athletics Pink Zones events. In her four seasons at Yale, she has played in 109 games with 34 starts. During her four seasons in a Yale uniform, she has recorded 587 points, 208 rebounds, and 85 assists. She scored in double figures 15 times in her Yale career, including a career-high 14 points on three occasions, with two of those coming this season in both games against Dartmouth.

During her four seasons, Messimer has established herself as one of the best 3-point shooters in Yale's history. She has made 112 3-point shots in her career, which ranks seventh all-time in Yale history. She has made 33.9 percent of her 3-point attempts in her four seasons, which ranks ninth all-time at Yale. This season, she has made 39.4 percent of her 3-point attempts, which is the ninth-highest 3-point shooting percentage in a single season in Yale's 40 seasons. In Ivy League competition this season, she has made 53.6 percent of her 3-point attempts, which currently leads the Ivy League.

Vasquez, a senior from Merrick, N.Y., is a resident of Davenport College and will graduate in May with a degree in Anthropology. During her four years at Yale, Vasquez has established herself as one of the greatest offensive players to ever play for the Bulldogs. She is a four-year starter for the Bulldogs, playing in 107 games in her Yale career with 80 starts. She currently has scored 1,353 points in her Yale career, which ranks seventh on Yale's all-time scoring list. She became the 17th player in Yale's history to surpass 1,000 career points against Cornell on February 10, 2012.

Vasquez has averaged 12.9 points per game in her career, scoring in double figures in 74 games and 20 or more points 15 times, including a career-high of 28 points scored against Columbia on February 11, 2012. She currently has 152 made 3-pointers, which ranks fourth all-time in Yale's history. Her free-throw percentage of 80.6 percent ranks third all-time at Yale, and her 255 career assists is the ninth-highest total in Yale's history. Yale's leading scorer in each of her first three seasons, she was an All-Ivy League First Team selection following her sophomore and junior seasons, one of only six Yale players to earn First Team honors more than once in a career.

Please join us in congratulating Allie Messimer and Megan Vasquez, the Yale women's basketball team's Class of 2013.

We would not let Megan and Allie get away without recalling their favorite memories from their four years with the Bulldogs. Here is a short Q&A with Megan and Allie to commemorate their four years at Yale.

 

What are your post-graduation plans?

Allie: I am working for an industry leader in electronic medical records in a project management and implementation consulting role.

Megan: My immediate post-graduation plan is to work for the Bank of New York Mellon on Wall Street to gain work experience and obtain valuable business skills. Then, in a year's time, I plan to continue my education and pursue a master's degree in Finance.
 

Looking back on your four years, what games or wins stand out the most?

Allie: The Florida State win during sophomore year was an amazing game. Offensively our entire team just clicked. Coach G's speech before the game has stuck with me in so many ways. She really reached out to us and connected with us on a personal level and it showed. The game started with not many fans there and by halftime word got around that we were in the game and we came back after the half with crowded stands! It was such an amazing moment. The other game that really sticks out for me is the Columbia game last year. It was our home Pink Zone game so having full stands (attendance: 1,259) was amazing. It was so fun to see such support for our program and play at home in that atmosphere.

Megan: Looking back on my four seasons at Yale, the season and games that stand out to me the most are from the 2010-2011 season. We were 1-7 going into a game against the No. 14 team in the country, Florida State, and we beat them. We all played together and played some of the best Bulldog basketball that I have seen throughout my basketball career at Yale. Everyone was dialed in and we played fearless. It was amazing to go into the locker room during halftime, and to come out to see that the number of fans had almost tripled, as people were texting and calling their friends to inform them about the game. With all of those fans behind us cheering and yelling, it helped us keep our intensity and momentum. Everyone on the team contributed and it was an incredible game. I believe that this win inspired us, and gave us the confidence that we needed in the Ivy League, as our team then believed that anything was possible, and that we were capable of great things. During that season, we swept Harvard for the first time since 1994. We played great defense the entire game, and had bursts of momentum at the right time. The Harvard-Yale rivalry is incomparable, and it is truly amazing to be a part of that sweep. We finished second in the 2010-2011 season, which resulted in a bid to the WNIT. We came a long way that season and I couldn't have been prouder to play in a Yale uniform.
 

What are some of the other schools that recruited you while you were in high school, and what made Yale stand out as your top choice?

Allie: I was recruited by several schools but it really came down to Dartmouth and Yale. It is hard to say what made Yale stand out. I came on my first official visit here and just knew that this was where I was meant to be. The girls on the team, Coach G. and the team dynamic seemed so fun and close-knit. Never once did I feel like anyone ever felt obligated to be with me as a recruit. Everyone seemed to genuinely care. Even people I met who weren't athletes were very nice people. Obviously the academics and campus played a role, but it was the people that brought me here.

Megan: I was privileged to be a part of an AAU team that won back to back AAU National Championships (15-U and 16-U). Because of this, my teammates and I were each recruited by almost every Division I basketball program at one time or another. My AAU teammates chose to go to UConn, Seton Hall, St. John's, Penn State, etc., which were also recruiting me. I, however, had always known that I wanted to play in the Ivy League. This league offers an unparalleled education and a competitive sports environment. I felt as if this opportunity also set me apart from my AAU teammates, as I was the only one fortunate enough to be recruited by the Ivy League colleges. When it came to narrowing down to my top three colleges, it came down to Harvard, Princeton and Yale. Honestly, I felt so blessed because I knew I couldn't go wrong with any of these colleges, and it was an amazing feeling to see the three coaches trying to convince me how one college was better than the other. But, when I went on my official visit to Yale, I knew it was the place for me. The team chemistry and fast style of play drew me to the program. I definitely made the right choice.
 

What are your favorite memories from your experience as a member of the Yale women's basketball team?

Allie: There are way too many moments to describe as my favorite memory. As an only child every single person on this team has become like a sister to me. No matter what happens we always support each other and come back together. Almost every moment I can think of involves us all just sitting around doing nothing and enjoying each other's company. This is the first group of people that I have never felt like I needed something to entertain us to have a great time (which is awesome because we sit around a lot!). My best memories are sitting around the locker room making fun of each other and joking around or sitting at dinner for hours on end talking about the future. I can honestly say that I will never forget any moment with all of these wonderful teammates.

Megan: My favorite memories on the Yale Women's Basketball team all occurred on road trips. Traveling always allows us to bond and spend time in different cities. We've done things from swimming with manatees in Florida, to performing our freshman dance in the middle of a Steakhouse restaurant in Colorado, to visiting Alcatraz Island in California. Being able to combine fun and adventure with basketball has made my experience as a Yale Women's Basketball player one of a kind. These great memories will be life-lasting.
 

What it was like to play for Coach Gobrecht?

Allie: Playing for Coach G. has been great. I knew coming in that Coach G. had a style that already fit the way I loved to play — fast and hard. She is an amazing person and it has always been evident how much she cares about us as people and about us being student-athletes.

Megan: Throughout my four years under Coach Gobrecht, I feel as if we have really grown together. I have been her point guard for all four years, which meant I took on the role of "Floor General," as she likes to put it. We have had countless meetings that involved laughter, crying and disagreements, but at the end of the day, we both had the same goal in mind: "What does our team need in order to reach its full potential?" That is something that will always resonate with me. No matter if we won or lost, if Coach Gobrecht did not think we played Bulldog basketball to the fullest capacity, she would demand and challenge us to strive for it. The combination of her passion for the game, and her truly caring about each individual on her team has made her the successful coach she is today.
 

Lastly, what are your thoughts about being a part of 40 seasons of Yale Women's Basketball history?

Allie: It has been a great year for our celebration of 40 years of women's basketball at Yale. This year more than any, I think that alumni have become more involved in coming out to our games and providing support for us in our academic and career pursuits. Meeting all the wonderful women that have been a part of this program has been an honor.

Megan: Women's sports have faced many hardships throughout the years, and the fact that I have the honor to say that I have been a part of a 40-year tradition is truly a remarkable feeling. I soon will be saying that I am very proud to have played 4 incredible years on the Yale women's basketball team and also very proud to be a Yale graduate.
 

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity

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