January 31, 2008

After Four Years, W. Cagers’ Gregg Finds Her Stroke

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“Gretchen is a great pure shooter. That, along with her hustle, her defense and her rebounding provided us with a great spark off the bench.”
That’s what women’s basketball head coach Dayna Smith had to say about senior co-captain Gretchen Gregg after last season.
“She’s established her jump-shot, she can get to the hoop when she wants to and defensively, she’s had to play against the opposing team’s best player and she’s comfortable with that.”
That’s what Smith has to say Gregg now, whose clutch play as a starter has helped put the Red in contention for the Ivy League title.
As one of only two players with three varsity letters under her belt, Gregg has seen the Red go from 3-24 (1-13 Ivy) in her freshman year to 9-6 (1-1 Ivy) this season. With each season, Gregg’s role with the team has increased, having started one, four, and 11 games in previous years before starting all 15 games this season.
“This year, going into senior year, I was focused on becoming a better ballhandler, a solid shooter, and making sure I fulfilled my role by doing what the coaches asked me to do,” Gregg said. “Just working on all aspects of my game this summer to help the team, which has really paid off.”
Gregg has taken advantage of her increased playing time and is currently Cornell’s fourth-leading scorer (7.7 ppg) and fourth-leading rebounder (3.4 rpg). The majority of the Marienville, PA. native’s points have come from behind the arc, where she has drained 46.7 percent of her attempts as the Red’s second-most efficient 3-point shooter this season.
“We’ve been working on driving to the hoop and everything, but yeah, I’m more of a 3-point shooter,” Gregg said.
Her shooting touch from long range has come in handy for the Red when it was most needed, in Cornell’s closest win of the season — a 61-59 victory over cross-town rival Binghamton.
In the game against the Bearcats, Gregg came out scorching and drained her first five 3-point attempts.
“My shots were just falling,” said Gregg. “The first five went in, and I was in the zone. The shot came off so clean, and my teammates were doing a good job of finding me.”
“She really caught on fire shooting,” Smith said. “Anytime Gretchen can sink her first couple shots, she can really get on a roll. We were struggling offensively, and she was just so consistent so we really started looking for her that game.”
Gregg ended the game with a career-high 21 points, including Cornell’s 61st and final point, scored in the final minute of the game after the Bearcats started to foul.
As a senior captain with three full seasons of experience, Gregg’s clutch play and will to win can be traced back to her dedication and work ethic, which have been cited as an example for her teammates to follow.
“She’s more of a quiet leader,” Smith said. “How she gets respect from players, and why they listen to her, is because they know that her work ethic is just tremendous. She’s one of the first people in the gym everyday and one of the last to leave.”
“You gotta make sure you always do your part,” Gregg said. “If someone’s struggling, help them through practice, and off the court, be there for your teammates. If someone’s struggling, you have to be more aware outside of your own game, outside of your own life.”
With Cornell currently 1-1 in Ivy League play, much remains to be seen for the rest of the season. Now a senior, this will be the first year of Gregg’s collegiate career that Cornell is expected to have a shot at the conference title and a possible trip to the NCAA tournament.
“We came off a great preseason,” Gregg said. “We just have to play with the mindset to win every game, approach every game with a good attitude and play intensely each night. We’re taking each game one at a time, and this year the team has a really great shot at doing well.”
The Red should be excited with the prospect of having Gregg available on the perimeter for the remainder of the season, because according to Coach Smith:
“I think Gretchen’s one of the best shooters I’ve ever coached.”