Q & A With Monica Wright
Senior women’s basketball player Monica Wright will play her final game at John Paul Jones Arena on Sunday at 1 p.m. vs. Virginia Tech. The Cavaliers are currently in third place in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings with two regular-season games left. The ACC Tournament begins in Greensboro, N.C., on March 4.
Question: Coming off of a 59-58 loss to Florida State on Monday (Feb. 22), what is the team working on going into the final stretch of the regular season?
Wright: Like always after a loss, we came back to practice the next day and regrouped and tried to focus and make sure we didn’t let the loss trickle down and affect the way that we practice. We always want to learn from the game by watching film, but then close the door on that game and realize that it’s time to focus on Duke. We can’t let Florida State beat us twice.
Question: The team has broken a few streaks this year, such as winning at College Park for the first time in your career as well as beating North Carolina for the first time since you’ve been at UVa. The same thing is true for Duke, you have not beat them in your career. Is that added motivation?
Wright: I would love for Virginia to beat Duke while I’m here. It brings pride to all of us, and for all the alumni.
Question: Have you thought about Sunday’s game vs. Virginia Tech?
Wright: I’ve thought about the game and about my last shoot-around, and I’m not sad about it because I enjoyed my four years here so much. I’m not emotional, I’m happy that I am ending the way I am.
Question: What is the best thing about being a senior?
Wright: I would say being at the age where you can talk with your coaches on a different level because you are mature enough.
Question: How about the worst thing?
Wright: Getting old and feeling old!
Question: Finish these sentences …
Someone I model my game after is … Kobe Bryant.
The best part of game days is … pre-game meal.
My favorite class I’ve taken at UVa is … History of the Circus.
The best thing I’ve learned from Coach Ryan is … you are what you repeatedly do.
A place I will miss in Charlottesville when I don’t live here anymore is … the dumpling spot on Elliewood [Marco & Luca Dumpling Shop].
Question: Some mock WNBA drafts have you being drafted as high as No. 2. Have you thought about the next step in your basketball career?
Wright: I do think about it, but I really want to focus on the end of the season at Virginia and winning the ACC Tournament and hopefully the NCAA Tournament. As far as the WNBA goes, I just want to get in the door and hopefully the rest will take care of itself. Regardless of where you end up, you’ll be playing with high-caliber players and it will be a whole new experience.
Question: Concrete or abstract, are there things that you would like to leave to your teammates?
Wright: I’ll leave my Coach items to Erinn Thompson and my shoes to Telia McCall. My leadership skills to Chelsea Shine, and my vocal ability to Paulisha Kellum and Jayna Hartig. My confidence will go to Ariana Moorer. Oh and I’d leave my car to Lexie Gerson!
Question: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Wright: Maybe still playing. Let’s see I’ll be 32 in 10 years, so maybe I’ll be done playing and coaching at a university. I’d like to have played for the United States at the Olympics and have gotten married.
Question: Why did you choose UVa?
Wright: As a basketball player, I also wanted to push myself in a different way. Looking back on my four years, I have done things in the classroom that I never thought I would be able to do. On the court I prepared myself to be a professional athlete, because Coach Ryan has prepared me to be professional in terms of doing the right thing everyday.