Hall of Fame Head Coach Debbie Ryan has seen some pretty spectacular players during her 33 years at the helm of Virginia women’s basketball. Cathy Grimes. Donna Holt. Dawn Staley. They won national accolades, set records in their time, and had their numbers retired. Yet none of them scored as many points as current senior Monica Wright will when the sun sets on her college career.
“[Wright]’s an incredible leader,” says women’s head coach Debbie Ryan. “You can win a lot of games, but there’s a right way to win, and Monica always does it the right way.”
In all likelihood*, Wright set the Cavalier scoring record on Monday night against Maryland. The game ended too late for press time, but Wright needed only 16 points to surpass Staley’s career tally of 2135 points. She’s on pace to finish her career as the ACC’s third-best scorer.
Staley, now the head women’s basketball coach at South Carolina, is sanguine about ceding the record. “Monica Wright is a good player who works hard to do what the team needs to be successful,” says Staley by e-mail. “That’s the way I played during my career at Virginia, so it’s great that that type of player is overtaking my record.”
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Wright’s assault on the history books is how consistent she’s been. The 5’11" guard from Woodbridge, Virginia, has started every game of her career. As a freshman, Wright averaged 15 points per game and was named ACC Freshman of the Year. Last season Wright led the ACC in scoring, averaging 20.5 points per game, and made first team All-ACC honors. It was enough to put her on the national stage—this season, Wright was preseason All-America.
“She’s grown a lot,” says Ryan. Wright was quieter as a freshman, learning how to lead from point guard Sharneé Zoll. But Wright quickly took over as team roll model. “I thought that was kind of cool,” Ryan says, “watching her go through the paces of how to be an encourager, yet also having to be an enforcer, because she had never really been an enforcer before.”
Despite her leadership and prolific scoring, Wright still has some work to do to join the highest echelon of Virginia basketball. In particular, her teams haven’t had the postseason success of Staley’s teams. While Staley danced three times to the NCAA Final Four—and to the 1991 championship game—Wright hasn’t played in even a Sweet Sixteen. This season, Cavaliers are a solid 11-4 as they enter the conference gauntlet and vie for a place in the NCAA tournament.
Yet regardless what records, trophies or plaques she ends up taking home, Wright will have something at least as valuable: The esteem of her veteran coach.
“Everyone knows that her character is beyond reproach, and that to me is what makes her a great basketball player, that’s what makes her unique,” says Ryan. “I’m as proud of her for the person she is as I am for the player that she is.”
*UPDATE Tuesday, January 12: In the January 11 game against Maryland, Monica Wright scored 20 points, enough for the record, though the Cavs lost by one point.
The following opinion piece by Jeffrey C. Fracher, Ph.D. and Bruce R. Williamson, Jr. ran in C-VILLE’s December 17 issue. The recent controversy over the Rolling Stone article does nothing to change the fact that the Sexual Misconduct Board (SMB) at the University of Virginia is a system
Surely Mark Weiner hoped, going into Albemarle County Circuit Court on December 17 to be sentenced for abduction with intent to defile, the third time would be the charm that sent him home. The now 54-year-old former grocery store manager has been sitting in jail for two years despite what his
Longtime local reviewer Barbara Rich did not mince words, even in death. “She did not ‘pass,’ she died,” reads her obituary, which did not note how old she was. Rich, who died December 8, wrote for most publications in town, and in the 1990s was a theater critic for C-VILLE Weekly. Her most
Albemarle High grad Riley M. Cole, 22, died Thursday afternoon, December 11, on Route 20 in Buckingham on his way home from his first semester at Longwood University, according to his obituary. Virginia State Police say Cole was traveling north in a 1997 Infiniti when he ran off the road,
Days after hundreds of mourners gathered at events in Earlysville and Charlottesville to remember slain mother and daughter Robin and Mani Aldridge, friends of the man accused in their murders are struggling with their own shock and disbelief. “He’s not a violent person,” said Jasmine Speller,
Lockn’ Music Festival has settled with the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control, which had threatened to yank the festival’s alcohol license because some festivalgoers smoked pot and the lighting wasn’t bright enough at the 2013 event. In a compromise settlement dated December 5, the festival’s
In the horrific tale of a 2012 gang rape at UVA in Rolling Stone last month, aside from the alleged rapists, probably no one came off worse than the three callous friends of Jackie, who urged her not to report the alleged sexual assault and warned her it could affect her social status. Those
City Market came one step closer to a permanent home by 2017 after City Council unanimously approved a permit for Market Plaza on December 1. The nine-story, L-shaped structure and plaza will occupy the parking lot used by City Market since 1993 and now owned by developer Keith Woodard. Market
An allegedly out-of-control 4-year-old prompted a call to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office in October, according to a report by Hawes Spencer on WVTF radio. The child apparently raised a ruckus in a pre-K classroom at Nathanael Greene Elementary School in Stanardsville when he allegedly threw
As owner of the Charlottesville Parking Center, Mark Brown acknowledges right off the bat that his push to eliminate free street parking downtown raises an obvious question about whether he has the most to gain from such a move. Brown became the downtown parking czar in August when he bought
Two new witnesses have come forward in the case of former Food Lion manager Mark Weiner to dispute the story of the young woman who claimed he abducted her. The woman, Chelsea Steiniger, testified Weiner incapacitated her with a mysterious chemical, then took her to an abandoned house on
Again and again in the national debate over UVA’s handling of campus sexual assault that followed Rolling Stone’s explosive and discredited story about an alleged gang rape, news outlets—including this one—have stated that the University has never expelled a student over accusations of sexual
More than two weeks after Rolling Stone’s “A Rape on Campus” exploded onto the national scene and then imploded into a victim-blaming retraction, the story itself promises to live on—as a cautionary tale in journalism classes. “[T]his will be an object lesson in reporting and editing,
It’s a Wednesday night, and in the basement of a converted home at 315 10th St. NE in Charlottesville’s Martha Jefferson neighborhood, seven HIV-positive men are sharing Subway sandwiches and soda and talking about viral loads. Actually, they’re talking about all kinds of things: growing up as
UPDATE, 1pm Tuesday, December 9: Seventeen-year-old Mani Aldridge knew the man who is charged with the murder of her and her mother in their Rugby Avenue home, Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said at a December 9 press conference. “We have no reason to believe this is a random act,” he
Police announced this afternoon that their investigation into what was initially believed to be a fatal fire on Rugby Avenue is now a homicide investigation. The bodies of 58-year-old Robin Christine Aldridge and her daughter, 17-year-old Mani Viktoria Aldridge, were found inside their
As criticism of shortcomings in its reporting of an alleged 2012 gang rape at UVA reached a fever pitch, Rolling Stone magazine’s managing editor today issued a mea culpa, saying the publication now has doubts about the account given by Jackie, the 20-year-old University student whose story
As the controversy over UVA’s handling of sexual assault cases continues to build, some alums are expressing their frustration over what they see as a lack of leadership at the school and even calling publicly for the resignation of President Teresa Sullivan and replacement of the Board of
Early on a Tuesday morning last month, Sarah Francisco got an e-mail she’d been waiting years to receive. Francisco, a senior attorney at the Virginia office of the Southern Environmental Law Center in Charlottesville, is the conservation group’s point person on the U.S. Forest Service’s
I find Floyd sitting with his 26-year-old son, Robert, under a tree near the intersection of Hydraulic Road and the 250 Bypass. He’s wearing a dark blue Earlysville Fire Station sweatshirt, but Floyd’s not a firefighter. He’s been homeless and panhandling in the area for more than five years.