Tregoning, Leeds keep heads up

January 28, 1993|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

St. Mary's College junior Jen Tregoning was coming off a banner volleyball season when she had to switch gears and take to the basketball court.

The Francis Scott Key graduate earned all-conference honors as the St. Mary's volleyball team completed its best season, going 28-6 this fall.

Her basketball teammate, sophomore point guard Cindy Leeds, still reflects on her senior year at Liberty High, when she helped lead the Lions to a 15-9 season and a trip to the region finals after going 3-19 the previous season.

Both will tell you how frustrating it is now in the midst of a 1-10 season, going to practice each day, working hard and having little to show for it. But both see better things to come.

"I don't think our record really reflects on how hard we're working," Tregoning said. "Sometimes it's difficult, but we're very close as a team and our work ethic pushes us through. All we can do is work as hard as we can and go from there."

Said Leeds: "It's kind of easy to get a losing attitude when you're struggling. We're just trying to stay away from that. I know we have the talent to turn things around.

"We know we're a young team and it's going to take time, but we're learning from our mistakes. With a little more experience, we're going to turn some of these losses into wins."

Tregoning was one of only seven players on the team three years ago when coach Pam Wojnar became the first full-time women's basketball coach at the Division III school. In the five previous seasons, St. Mary's had six different coaches.

The 5-foot-11 co-captain center is in her third year starting and has become a defensive specialist, averaging 2.8 blocked shots -- tops in the Capitol Athletic Conference and seventh in the country in Division III.

On a team with one senior and two juniors, her strong leadership also has played a big role in keeping things positive.

"She brings great leadership to the floor, and her shot-blocking ability is talked about throughout the conference," said Wojnar. "Not only does she block a lot of shots, but she also makes players adjust their shot. She gives us a lot of security and enables our guards to be more aggressive knowing she's back there."

Wojnar calls Leeds her top recruit since she took over the program, which is interesting considering the guard didn't think she was good enough to play college ball.

The team's offense and defense are centered around Leeds' greatest strengths -- quickness and tenacity.

"We don't put any limitations on her game," Wojnar said. "She has great quickness and ball-handling ability. We spread things out and let her penetrate. There aren't too many guards around who can stop her."

As a senior in high school, Leeds averaged more than six steals and continually frustrated opposing guards with relentless pressure. She's doing the same in college, averaging 4.4 steals -- 10th in the nation -- to go along with her 10-plus points.

"We have a lot of different looks on defense and I just try to run all over the place and make things happen," Leeds said.

"I switched to point guard after playing out on the wing, and it's been a tough adjustment. The players are a lot bigger and stronger and we've seen some tough teams. I just try to go out and play my hardest."

Wojnar is hoping to find more players like Leeds.

"She comes in with the attitude, 'I don't care who you are, I'm going to take it to you,' " Wojnar said.

"Nothing can affect Cindy Leeds. Whether we're up 100 points or down 100 points, she still plays the same. That's the type of player we're looking for."

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