The Campus presents: Athlete of the Week – Jill Gregory

Jill Gregory, ’11, leads the Gators in scoring this year with a 15.2 ppg average and posted 19 points in Tuesday’s win versus Hiram. She also leads the team in steals and looks to take her all-around game into a pivotal weekend for the team. - Jill Gregory, ’11, is the Gators’ leader in both points and steals for the season.

Charlie: What is your mindset on the court as the leading scorer on the team? Does it affect some of your decisions that maybe people are expecting you to shoot or make a play?
Jill: My mindset is the same every game, to go out and get wins. I just try to help out the team any way I can, whether it’s scoring or playing great defense.

CM: Most teams have a few set plays that they run to get their top scorer the ball, is it like that for this team?
JG: Not really, most of the plays we run have both options to get our posts open down low or to get our guards open off of screens.

CM: Looking back to before you played here, were you a prominent scorer on your high school or traveling basketball teams? If so, how does that factor into your game now?
JG: In high school I played for a really developed program, and in the years I was there my team did very well and made quite a few runs in the state playoffs. I played with some great players and learned a lot from them, but I wasn’t a prominent scorer. I really focused on my defense to help my team out and I usually guarded the opposing teams best player.

CM: So defense is a priority for you?
JG: Yes, every team I’ve played on has had the defense wins games mentality, which I firmly believe

CM: Your win last night moved you to 5–5 in the NCAC. What would you like to see your team do as you make a push for the playoffs?                                        JG: I think the top eight teams make playoffs. Right now, we are shooting for a top four seed so we can gain home court advantage for the first round.

CM: Switching gears a little bit here. When did or what made you want to play basketball in college? What made you chose Allegheny over other schools?
JG: Basketball has always been a huge part of my life and Allegheny just felt right for me. After meeting the team and the coaches at the time, I felt comfortable and knew I’d fit right in.

CM: Being an athlete here is not easy, what motivates you to do the hardest parts of about it such as road trips, missing classes, early practices or off-season conditioning?
JG: It is tough, but thinking about that potential conference championship at the end of every season motivates me to put in the effort and work hard.

CM: You guys have struggled on the road, so how important is this three game home stand to the team?
JG: We have one win down this week, so to get two this weekend would be huge. To give Wittenberg their first conference loss would give us some great momentum for the rest of the season.

CM: Give three reasons why everyone should come to your games this weekend.
JG: Saturday is our Think Pink game to support breast cancer awareness, if you’re lucky you’ll catch a T–shirt! And we play awesome music at time outs.

CM: What are some of the strengths of the team? What aspects need improvement?
JG: You can never stop improving your defense, but most importantly we need to maintain a strong focus on our rebounding. Some people dont realize how key rebounding is. However, we definitely are faster than most teams and we push the ball down the floor well in transition. Our offense and combined post and guard scoring efforts are usually pretty solid, too.

CM: Does the team consider itself a contender this year?
JG: Absolutely. We lost in the conference championship last year, so that serves as some huge motivation for a lot of us returners. We all know we can play with any team in the conference, we’ve proven that thus far, and it’s going to be our turn to come out on top in close games now that we’ve got more experience. I think we’re going to be the team that shocks a lot of people in the playoffs.

The Gators compete next in back-to-back matches at home this weekend against Earlham and Wittenberg.