W. BASKETBALL | Vasquez adds power to Bulldog lineup

Megan Vasquez ’13 first stepped onto a basketball court when she was in third grade. By seventh grade, the 12-year-old was already getting mail from colleges who wanted to recruit her.

And the mail kept coming during her four years at Sanford H. Calhoun High School in her hometown of Merrick, N.Y. Vasquez captained the basketball team there for four years and was the first player in school history to break the 2,000 career point mark with 2,077 points. For her achievements on the court, her school honored her by retiring her number 10, the first time any Calhoun athlete’s number had been retired.

Guard Megan Vasquez ’11 leads the women’s basketball team with 13.6 points per game.
Guard Megan Vasquez ’11 leads the women’s basketball team with 13.6 points per game.

“It was a complete surprise,” Vasquez said. “The principal of my school was supposed to be giving a speech about me surpassing the 2,000th point mark before our last home game, but during his speech he announced the retiring of my jersey. Knowing that all my peers thought so highly of me was one of the best feelings.”

Though Vasquez now wears number 15 instead of number 10, her prowess on the basketball court has not changed. As a starting guard on the women’s basketball team, she has been an impact player since arriving at Yale last year.

“We knew that Megan was going to help us right off the bat,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “She’s very skilled. She’s great for our transition game because of her ability to both handle the ball and make the down-court pass. She definitely gives us a different dimension.”

When the time came to choose a college to play for, Vasquez felt most comfortable at Yale, where she had been watching basketball games since her junior year in high school.

“Yale was the perfect fit for me,” Vasquez said. “It was a chance to get an unparalleled education and play Division I basketball in a league that was growing in competitiveness. When I visited the school I loved everything about it, especially the team dynamic.”

Vasquez’s interest in Yale came as exciting news to Gobrecht, who saw her as a player that would allow the team to better compete against bigger teams.

“When I first got to Yale, our guards were all undersized,” Gobrecht said. “We’re often undersized, still, but Megan’s not. [She’s given] us a big-time body that would allow us to go up against some of the bigger guards … and allow us to compete at a national level.”

As a freshman, Vasquez averaged a team-high 11.5 points per game and 2.3 assists per game. She also led the team in steals, tallying 41. Her play added up to Vasquez being named a unanimous selection to the All-Ivy Rookie Team.

Vasquez’s efforts helped the Bulldogs finish in fourth place in the Ivy League last season with an 8–6 record, its best final league standing since the 1997-98 season.

This year, she continues to be the team’s most prolific scorer and is averaging 13.6 points per game. And since she is still only a sophomore, Gobrecht said Vasquez still has time to grow and develop into an even stronger player.

“She’s just going to keep getting better and better every year, just as I think she’s going to keep getting better and better as this year progresses,” Gobrecht said. “She’s had some great games, and what she’s after now is the consistency of being there every night for her team. That’s what she’s learning how to do.”

With Ivy League competition set to open this Friday against Brown, Vasquez and the team now have their eyes set on making a run at an Ivy League Championship. The Bulldogs last won the crown in 1979, which is the only title in the program’s 37-year history.

“We haven’t won [the championship] in over 30 years and I feel like we all have the talent and the heart to make that happen,” Vasquez said. “Our team is fully prepared. We have had a lot of ups and downs, which has helped us mature in the first three months of our season. We are ready to take the Ivy League by storm.”

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