Ashley Valley
Year: 2001 - 2005
Position: Guard
Hometown: Colchester, VT

Ashley Valley was a Guard for the UConn Huskies from 2001 – 2005. Some team highlights of Ashley’s UConn career were winning three National Championships, two Big East Tournaments, and a 39 win and 0 loss season. I spoke to Ashley in July 2006, as she reflected on her basketball memories and experiences.

Ashley grew up in Colchester, Vermont, and has been playing basketball for as long as she can remember. Her dad coached a boys’ team when Ashley was very young so Ashley, and her sister Morgan learned the game while spending a lot of time at their dad’s practices. Ashley went to Mater Christi Catholic Junior High School in Burlington, Vermont. They had no basketball team so she played on the boys Athletic Amateur Union basketball team.

When she arrived at Rice Memorial High School in Vermont, Ashley became a member of the varsity basketball team as a freshman. During her sophomore, junior and senior years, the team won the Vermont State Championship, an accomplishment that’s an honor if ever reached once during high school. Ashley was Gatorade and USA Today Vermont Player of the year, and she holds the records for most points scored in a quarter and most steals in a season.

Ashley and Morgan had decided during middle school that they would like to go to the same college. “My sister (Morgan – one year older than Ashley) went through the recruiting process, and I went through it with her in terms of going to visit schools. Coach Auriemma came to visit my sister, offered her a scholarship, and he offered me a scholarship, too.” After the sisters visited UConn Ashley said, “The players and coaches were friendly, it was a family atmosphere. I liked everything, and I just knew UConn was the place for me.”

The transition from high school to college wasn’t shocking but it made Ashley realize; there is a lot of talent across the country. Playing at UConn, Ashley said, “It’s something you can only feel if you’ve played there. Playing at the Hartford Civic Center in front of 16,000 people is unreal, I can’t describe it.”

In addition to winning three National Championships, Big East Tournament Championships, Big East Regular Season Champions, and a perfect record of 39 wins and 0 losses, Ashley said, “There were the places you go throughout college that will never be duplicated. I have a lot of fun memories off the court; team bonding, study hall on the road, team dinners, hanging out in the locker rooms with my teammates were all great times that you can’t enjoy after graduation when everyone goes in their own direction. If you take away all of the basketball accomplishments, it’s the people I’ve met along the way that are worth having gone to UConn.”

Ashley and her sister Morgan Valley

Ashley graduated from UConn with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. Currently she’s in graduate school at Quinnipiac College in Hamden, CT working toward a Masters of Arts Degree in teaching. In addition to classes, Ashley just finished an internship at a school doing whatever was needed to be done this past year, and in the fall she’ll be student teaching. Upon graduation in the spring of 2007, Ashley will be searching for a job in elementary education, and if time permits she’d like to fit some form of basketball into her schedule. “I realize how much life should be appreciated. Being in the field of education it’s amazing what teachers do on a daily basis, and how they impact children’s lives.”

When asked about her thoughts on when UConn will get back to the Final Four, Ashley said, “They will get there. The team is young right now. They just have to keep working at it.”

Her thoughts on Coach Auriemma, “He’s a great guy. He’ll make you laugh on or off the court but if you mess up its a little more than laughing. His team motto is ‘play hard, play smart, and have fun.’ If you do those things you’ll be all set.”

Ashley ended our conversation with an appreciation for the coaching staff, and the players at UConn. She has conversed with players from other teams discussing specific game plays, and game decisions, and has compared their responses to what she has learned at UConn, and has concluded, “It helps you to realize why UConn is so successful.”