The 1,000-point came in the penultimate game of Ashelyne Babb’s superb basketball career at Utica College in New
Babb, a Lynn resident who played her high school basketball in Winthrop, likely would have joined the exclusive club much earlier if she weren’t such an unselfish team player. In addition to being a top scorer, Babb led the Pioneers in assists and finished fifth all-time in school history in that category with 288.
The daughter of Dave and Regina Babb, Ashleyne began her high school career at Bishop Fenwick before transferring to Winthrop High for her sophomore year.
Her three-year career in Winthrop was Northeastern Conference All-Star caliber – and almost legendary. The Lady Vikings nearly upset Jeff Newhall’s 2014 St. Mary’s team in the Division 3 North sectional final, losing in a thriller, 44-42, at the Tsongas Center. St. Mary’s went on to win the state title.
Babb emerged as a star at Utica in her sophomore season. She had started in a couple of games as a freshman and became a full-time starter as a sophomore. Her level of confidence grew with each game, realizing that her speed, superior ballhandling, and passing skills could create many scoring opportunities. Several of her baskets came after swift drives down the lane.
“I pride myself on my dribbling and passing,” said Babb, who also led the Pioneers in rebounding one season.
Babb had one of the best games of her career in the milestone-breaker. The 5-foot-3-inch team leader scored 26 points, dished out six assists, and grabbed seven rebounds in a win over Alfred University.
“The points (999 and 1,000) were on a floater in the paint,” said Babb.
Coach Michele Davis called timeout to recognize Babb’s accomplishment. The school formally recognized her milestone on Senior Night. Ashelyne’s parents, Dave Babb and Regina Babb, were on hand as the school said farewell to one of its all-time greatest basketball players.
Her start in
elementary school basketball
The road to the Utica women’s basketball program began in fourth grade for Babb, who hit the court for the St. Pius CYO team.
“At first, I wasn’t serious about basketball, but then I realized how much I liked the sport and began to play more,” she recalled.
Babb excelled for the Marshall Middle School team and advanced her skills in the Massachusetts Thundercats AAU program, coached by Marvin Avery and Jim Ridley.
After playing one year for the Bishop Fenwick freshman team, she hit her stride immediately at Winthrop High where she earned a starting role in the backcourt on Ignacio Oyola’s Lady Vikings, teaming up with a talented nucleus that included the Tsiotos Twins, Niki and Poli, Kristen Siscamanis, Nina Bartlett, Maura Lanza, and Allie Love.
With Babb at the controls of the offense, the team was one of the best in Winthrop history and almost made it to the Garden.
“We weren’t expected to give St. Mary’s a tough game, but we almost won it,” recalled Babb, who was an Agganis All-Star. “Still, it was a great experience at Winthrop High and I’ll always have great memories of my teammates and the coaches.”
Adjusting to the game of
Babb considered several schools but ultimately chose Utica because of its outstanding criminal justice program.
She said playing college basketball was a challenge because of the faster pace of the game “and everybody is good.”
Babb said her college coaches brought out the best in all phases of her game. “You couldn’t get on the court unless you played the game at both ends, offense and defense,” said Babb, who was named Utica’s defensive player of the year this season.
Gil Burgmaster, sports information director at Utica, said Babb carved out a legacy as one of the best players in school history.
“Ashelyne was one of the top contributors on our team and one of the most dangerous guards in our conference for four seasons,” said Burgmaster. “She could score on the offensive end and her ability to create problems for opponents on the defensive end really made her stand out. She was great in transition offense and had the ability to score 20-plus points on any given night. It’s rare for someone to be able to score 1,000 points in a career and that accomplishment puts her right up there with some of the best women’s basketball players to ever wear the uniform at Utica College.”
Graduating with honors
Babb graduated with honors and received a degree in Criminal Justice, with a minor in Cyber Security. She has begun an internship at the Cambridge Probation Department, and is working at Girls Inc., Lynn. She will pursue her Master’s degree in Social Work at Salem State University.
Babb is currently playing in a women’s basketball league in Danvers and hopes to coach AAU basketball.
“I feel I made the right decision about attending Utica,” said Babb. “It was a great four years.”
Babb, who turns 22 next week, said she’s grateful for the support of her parents and her brother, Josh.
“They were at a lot of my games, and if they couldn’t be there, they were watching it online,” said Babb. “I would talk about each game afterwards with my father.”
Dave Babb, who was so instrumental in his daughter’s development in to a standout basketball player and scholar-athlete, is one proud dad and rightfully so.
“I’m always proud of her,” said Mr. Babb. “She works hard and she’s always worked hard. But what I like best is her all-around game. She’s not just an offensive player as her stats showed. She led in assists and steals two years, along with the points. But the most important number is that GPA (3.5). She did it herself. She picked the right school and a coach that she was very comfortable with, and she fit in the system – and that, to me, is the most important part when you’re ready to go to college.”