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.
Frank Morris had trouble breathing. Victor Taylor woke up in the middle of the night, with “pancake-sized hives.” Author John Grisham’s ears were “really, really itching.” “We got in the car,” Grisham told Allergic Living magazine, “and I was so desperate I stripped down, took off all my
Farmington feud Farmington Country Club revoked Juan Manuel Granados’ membership following his spat with Tucker Carlson, who has admitted that his son threw wine in Granados’ face. Granados, represented by celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti, is now threatening legal action. It won’t be the first
A new development proposed in Hogwaller—that fabled southeast corner of the Belmont-Carlton neighborhood—would give residents the opportunity to live and grow their own food on a small urban pasture called Hogwaller Farm. However, some people have objected to its location. And its name.
By Jonathan Haynes The vaulted sanctuary of First United Methodist Church fell silent Friday night as survivors of the vehicular assault that killed Heather Heyer spoke one by one about their paths to recovery. Survivors organized the event to raise money for Heal Charlottesville, a local
Three Democratic women in Virginia upset Republicans in House of Representatives races Tuesday–but Leslie Cockburn wasn’t one of them. The investigative journalist and Rappahannock County resident fell short against Republican Denver Riggleman in the 5th district race, despite raising
The confirmation of conservative Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has raised fears that Roe v. Wade could be undercut or even overturned. In fact, abortion access has been under attack for decades by restrictive state laws and regulations (more than a thousand restrictions have been passed
We’re No. 49 Virginia ranks as one of the worst states in the country when it comes to ease of voting, according to a recent study from Northern Illinois University. Our state has slipped in the “cost of voting index” since 1996, when we ranked No. 42, to the “second most difficult” place to
Charlottesville’s physical education teachers are already tasked with teaching a range of heavy topics in health class, from the dangers of opioid addiction to how to avoid unhealthy relationships. Now, gun safety will be added to the list. Fifteen of the city school division’s PE teachers
As the United Daughters of the Confederacy gathered in Richmond last week for its annual convention, members were met with some unexpected visitors. Around four dozen demonstrators from Charlottesville and Richmond, many of them wearing hats, pearls, and white gloves, stood outside the UDC’s
Veteran and activist John Miska, who was followed by a group of protesters and called a “Nazi” after a recent court hearing, filed a criminal charge for abusive language against a member of what he called a “mob.” On November 5, a judge found her not guilty. Anti-racist activist Donna Gasapo is
By Jonathan Haynes After hundreds of complaints, the R.A. Yancey Lumber Corporation has confirmed that it is, in fact, the source of the mysterious humming noise that has been pestering Crozet residents since September. The family-owned company, which has operated in Crozet since 1949, had
But wait, there’s more on the ballot While congressional candidates are getting all the attention, they’re not the only choices that need to be made at the polls November 6. Virginia likes to ask voters to weigh in on additions to its constitution, such as the now-unconstitutional
For more than 20 years, Jeff Norford has staged the brightest holiday light display in town, a must-see on any light tour that’s been visited by thousands of Charlottesvillians. Which is why a collective “oh no” arose when he announced he would not be putting up lights this year. “I’m tired,”
The most frightening movie on this year’s Virginia Film Festival schedule doesn’t feature supernatural ghouls, but it had Larry Sabato shaken. Charlottesville is the real-life horror story that took place on UVA’s Grounds and in city streets when white supremacists and neo-Nazis came to town in
Charlottesville City Schools has opened up a dialogue on racial disparities in its schools, with a survey to parents and a series of community forums, the first of which was held on October 23. Though data on the black/white gap in city schools—in everything from suspension rates to
A mortgage burning is a 20th-century ritual that doesn’t occur much anymore, partly because few Americans stay in their homes long enough to pay off a mortgage. That’s not the case for Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church, which has been around since 1867 and torched its deed of trust October
A year and a half after 16-year-old Patrick Clancy was hospitalized following a soccer practice on a blistering July day, he filed a $2 million civil suit against the coach, Stuart Pierson, and Matthew Pearman, the Monticello High School athletic director. “The rules were in place that day, and
Science class was in session at the October 25 Albemarle County School Board meeting, when board member Jason Buyaki paused to question not only the existence of climate change but also the nature of fossil fuels themselves. Buyaki, who represents the Rivanna district, recently wore a tie
Benjamin Burruss sat in his car in the Comfort Inn parking lot surrounded by Albemarle police. His employer had asked police to check on him when he didn’t show up for work. Burruss told the officers he did not intend to harm himself or anyone else, and the 12-gauge shotgun in his backseat was
“White parents would not permit their children to receive instruction from inferior Negro teachers—and they were inferior.” These recently resurfaced words, which originally appeared in a July 1, 1956, article titled “Virginia’s Creeping Desegregation: Force of the Inevitable” in Commentary