For women’s basketball captain and guard Jamie Van Horne ’09, leadership skills on and off the court seem to come effortlessly.
“I haven’t really noticed a change in her behavior around the team [since she became captain],” said Kaitlyn Lillemoe ’09. “She is just naturally a leader and does a great job of keeping the team positive and on the same page.”
Van Horne brings a combination of leadership, calmness and a mean set of three-pointer skills to the table, making her a triple threat of sorts. In the 2006-’07 season, during the game against Brown, she set a new Ivy League record for three-point percentage. Van Horne scored a career-high 21 points, tying the Yale all-time record for seven three-pointers in a single game.
This year, after only a few games, the captain is off to a similarly strong start. In their biggest win of the season so far, the Elis triumphed over N.C. State 65-61 on Nov. 22, with Van Horne contributing 15 points towards the winning total on her birthday.
During her tenure as captain so far, the southern California native has earned the esteem of her teammates and coaches, something she never takes for granted.
“Being the captain of this team is very rewarding,” Van Horne said. “It’s so great to have the respect of my teammates, especially when we’re facing difficult challenges.”
Last season, she started all 27 games and scored 59 three-pointers, the second most in the Ivy League.
“Jamie’s biggest basketball asset is definitely her three-point shot,” Lillemoe said. “It is something that every basketball player dreams of having, but few actually have.”
Head coach Chris Gobrecht emphatically agreed: “She can sure shoot the three!”
Van Horne’s three-point shooting prowess not only helps win games, but also challenges her opponents and teammates to play their best.
“It is fun to play with Jamie because the threat of her long-range shooting forces the defense to spread out and guard her,” said Melissa Colborne ’10. “This creates opportunities for all her teammates to score.”
On the defense front, Van Horne is a player her teammates can trust to be there to help, allowing the team to play pressure defense, Colborne said.
When Van Horne steps onto the court, she retains a calming presence.
“She’s really a quiet — but effective — leader,” Gobrecht said. “The team feels that they have to do the right thing. When you have a lot of pressure, like in a Division I school, it’s a great thing to have someone like Jamie around.”
Colborne added, “She finds ways to motivate us while remaining positive, has us do team bonding activities, and leads us by setting a great example with her effort.”
Van Horne is pursuing a degree in psychology and hopes to teach in Spain after graduation.
“I would also love to coach basketball, preferably high school,” she explained.
When asked what moment from her career sticks out most to her, her immediate response was, “When we beat Harvard and Dartmouth last year.”
Over the Jan. 26-27 weekend, the Bulldgos came away with two solid wins — a 61-53 victory over the Crimson, and a 63-56 triumph over the Big Green the next day.
For Van Horne, who was an all-state selection twice in high school, learning to put the team first came early on.
“When I was much younger, I played softball and soccer, and I was a swimmer,” Van Horne said. “I started playing basketball in the second grade and I played tennis in high school.”
That passion for sports and team spirit has continued with her, as she brings her dedication to the Yale team.
“Tell everyone to come to our game!” Van Horne said enthusiastically at the end of the interview.
The Bulldogs will be back in action next Monday on the road as they go up against Stony Brook. The Elis’ next home game is Dec. 21., when Yale will host Quinnipiac.