Grades, baskets add up to award for Hebron's Lloyd

March 27, 1994|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun Staff Writer

Like most teen-agers on the basketball court and in the classroom, Kristen Lloyd likes to see quick results.

But this year, the Mount Hebron senior had to wait for one of her rewards. Last night, she received the first Scholar-Athlete Scholarship Award from the Maryland Women's Basketball Coaches Association.

One of nine students with a 4.0 grade-point average on the MWBCA's 10-girl Academic All-Maryland Team, Lloyd took home scholarship worth $500. She'll use the money to attend Bucknell University, where she has received a substantial grant to play basketball.

The award fits Lloyd, who is committed equally to her education and her sport.

She's compiled a stellar academic resume that includes advanced-placement courses in English, biology and Spanish. Ranked first in her class along with eight other 4.0 students, Lloyd plans to major in mechanical engineering in the fall.

"I've always been goal-oriented and I like to see my finished product. I think that's why I am more into mechanical than theoretical engineering," said Lloyd. Her main interest lies in energy efficiency.

Lloyd said encouragement from science and math teachers has held her interest in fields that girls traditionally shy away from.

"Most girls I know like English, but I don't enjoy it. Math has always been one of my better courses -- it just makes sense," said Lloyd, who also takes a Pascal computer language course. "That's one of the things I like about Pascal, too. You have to think things through more, but the answer is always clear. It either works or it doesn't."

That analytical thinking carried over to the basketball court. Lloyd's contributions didn't always show up in the box score, but her work off the ball proved crucial to a team that relied heavily on picks and screens.

Consider that the No. 10 Vikings lost only one of their last 11 regular-season games -- after Lloyd fouled out at a critical moment. With the Vikings leading by two, she stood up to a driving opponent, but the call did not go her way. Lloyd went to the bench, and the Vikings fell, 46-42, to then-No. 3 St. Mary's in the Fuel Fund Classic in February.

"Kristen really set the tone for us, because she's a tough kid," said Vikings coach Dave Greenberg. "She's not afraid and she won't back down from anything. She leads the team in taking charges. She really plays hard."

Early in the season, Lloyd had a bit of trouble adjusting to a new position. After playing center as a junior, she had to move to strong forward to make room for 6-foot-2 Rachel Cimmier, a French exchange student.

Lloyd never resented Cimmier, spending hours before the season started helping the newcomer adjust to the game.

"It was tough because I hadn't ever played the position, and I just didn't know what I was supposed to do," she said.

Greenberg said Lloyd accepted her move from the center of the offense to supporting player.

"Kristen got into the limelight last year as a starter, but this year, a new kid came in from overseas who happened to be a great player, and all of a sudden Kristen's role became more subtle. Her role on the team was not to be the leading scorer and do flashy things. Her role was to set screens, help somebody else get open and take certain shots," said Greenberg.

Still, Lloyd's statistics were not bad. She averaged 8.5 points (third on the team), while shooting 49 percent from the field. Against county teams, she averaged 9.2 points and shot 54 percent, just two percentage points below the school record.

Not too long ago, however, playing Division I basketball seemed an impossible dream to Lloyd.

"In eighth grade, I don't think there was a whole lot of potential," said Lloyd, who played on a Howard County Youth Program team. "No one encouraged me, because I'm not that quick. If you're an athlete, the coaches say the skills will come, but if you're not that athletic, I guess they don't think there's much hope."

Things didn't get much better the next year. "On JV in my freshman year, I was just awful," said Lloyd.

But Greenberg put her on varsity the next season to back up All-Metro Player of the Year Kris Bryant. Still, Lloyd struggled.

Over the next summer, things started to change. Lloyd's opportunity came when Bryant suffered a knee injury that would keep her sidelined almost the entire season.

"That summer when Kris got hurt, that's when I dropped everything else," said Lloyd, who had played volleyball and softball. "At first I didn't look at it as an opportunity, because we were good friends and it was a pretty big hit for all of us, but once she started looking at it as an opportunity for me, that motivated me."

Lloyd improved so much over the summer and fall that she made the All-Tournament Team at the Strathaven Tournament in December 1992.

Right through the Vikings' loss to Howard in the regional semifinals, Lloyd continued to get better.

"Kristen is a great story, because she's come so far," said Greenberg. "I don't think anybody has worked harder in the past two years to improve her game. And she's gotten what she wanted out of basketball -- a chance to play Division I basketball."

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