By Allison Crowe, Virginia Media Relations
730: The magic number. After four years and 124 starts, that number, and the ACC career assists record, was Sharne Zoll’s. Zoll managed seven assists in Virginia’s Thursday night 83-71 victory over Clemson, moving her past former UVa great Dawn Staley to the top of the ACC all-time career assists list. Zoll’s performance this evening gives her 731 assists for her career. Number 730 came early in the second half, as Zoll executed a beautiful alley-oop to Monica Wright amidst huge cheers and a standing ovation from the crowd and the bench.
“Words can’t describe what a dream this has been,” Virginia Coach Debbie Ryan said. “I’ve gotten a chance to coach two of the greatest players in women’s college basketball history, Sharne and Dawn. I’m blessed and honored to be their coach. I’m sure Sharne watched Dawn growing up, and with her as a model, she’s going to be an incredible person and player.”
Zoll, who will graduate in May, will leave Virginia as one of the best point guards in school history. Perennially an ACC leader in assists, she has led the conference in the category for the past two years. Only the third player in ACC history to garner over 700 assists, she got number 700 in UVa’s victory over Florida State Feb. 10. She has averaged 5.9 assists per game this season and currently leads the league in assist/turnover ratio. She’s also no stranger to the basket, and her increased willingness to take shots this season made her a member of the 1,000-point club on Jan. 9 versus Rhode Island.
Zoll has grown used to the fervor surrounding her and the record, which has been looming in the back of many minds since the onset of the season. Despite her extraordinary credentials, Zoll’s approach is modesty. While she is honored to be amongst the rankings with Dawn Staley, she insists that she values her role as a team leader as well.
“I’m so relieved that it came. I can stop thinking about,” Zoll said. “My teammates don’t have to concentrate on it, or worry about missing lay-ups at halftime or keeping track of my assists throughout the game. I didn’t even know the lob to Monica was going to be number six. I kept thinking, If this doesn’t happen today, I’m going to be crushed.’ But it happened, and now we can go on. It’s kind of crazy to break a record that your idol held. But we have a couple more games ahead of us, and now we can finally focus on them.”
This humility, as well as her strength and intelligence on the court, has earned her the ultimate respect of her teammates.
“I thought, I better put it in the basket,’” said Wright. “I was so excited when it went in. It was a great play, and a great play call on Sharne’s part.”