Gail Siemer seems too nice to be throwing elbows around on the basketball court and snapping a little angrily at her Chesapeake-AA coach for some picks to help set her free from the double- and triple-teams she faces every game.
"Gail gets frustrated and comes off the floor and says, 'Coach, you have to do something, you have to set some screens for me.' And I always say, 'I'm doing the best I can,' " said Chesapeake coach Jerry McBee.
However, Siemer's style has a lot more to do with the way she was taught to play the game by former Western Maryland College star Barbara Wolf Brummett than her temperament.
Brummett taught the 6-foot-1 junior how to be physical in the middle, how to use screens to get open and showed her all the basic shooting skills.
"Barbara taught me the game," said Siemer who has been one of the top centers in Anne Arundel County for two seasons. "She really helped improve my skills and taught me all about shooting, such as keeping my elbow like a 'L' and where to look at in the rim. She was very physical, and I'm very physical."
Brummett, Siemer's first cousin who completed her Green Terror career in 1991, is Western Maryland's all-time leading rebounder (1,025), second on the school's career scoring list (1,300) and all-time steals leader (258).
Like Brummett, Siemer is a consistent player who keeps putting up impressive numbers.
As a sophomore at Chesapeake, the slender Siemer averaged 13.0 points, 10.8 rebounds and four blocked shots for a 5-18 team.
This season, for a 6-9 squad, she is scoring 14.0 points a game, averaging 14.5 rebounds and blocking three shots a game.
"Gail was the only thing we had against Severna Park," said McBee. "My point guard [Laura Basil] was out and another starter [Melanie Tice] played but couldn't see very well because of an eye infection. Gail went out and scored 23 points and had 21 rebounds in a 51-40 loss."
The 23 points were one below Siemer's career-high of 24, which she established last season against neighborhood rival Northeast.
"I was really good on the foul line that night against Northeast," said Siemer. "I score a lot from the line because coach McBee always tells me to drive and I get fouled a lot. Driving to the basket is my favorite move."
Siemer shot 64 percent from the line last season and has steadily raised her percentage to 58 this year after getting off to a slow start. She has taken free-throw lessons from the renowned Buzz Braman in an attempt to take advantage of her many trips to the line.
Her shooting ability also is evident on 12- to 15-foot jumpers, and she made two three-pointers last season.
"I like to shoot threes, but I don't get much of a chance," said Siemer who only strays outside if McBee allows her and follows all his game instructions to the letter.
In addition to her height, Siemer was blessed with unusually long arms which enable her to reach over the backs of opposing players for offensive rebounds and tap the ball to herself.
"She's smart enough to do it without fouling," said McBee. "As long as she doesn't put a body on them [opponents], they can't call anything. She has played in 99 percent of every game and only fouled out one time."
Siemer has not only been the school's top basketball player for two years but she has also been the best volleyball player for the Cougars for two seasons, making second-team All-Anne Arundel County as a junior hitter.
The outstanding student (3.75 grade point average) has received a lot of inquiries from colleges who want her as a volleyball player, and Georgetown, Dayton and Central Connecticut have written letters of basketball interest to Siemer.
"I'd love to get a scholarship in either sport," she said. "But I'll chose a college based on its educational background. I'd love to do something in accounting or elementary education."
Pub Date: 2/05/97