By EMILY BARY ’14
Editor in Chief
After having played basketball for more than a decade, Leslie Leong ’14 originally didn’t think she would continue with the sport in college. But after hearing from Wellesley’s basketball coach, the California native decided to head east and join the Blue.
Leong has certainly made her mark on the team in the past three seasons. She helped the team reach the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) finals last season and now leads the team in points (71) and points per game (14.2).
Leong sat down with me to talk about her role as a captain of the team and her thoughts on playing her final season with the Blue. Excerpts of the talk follow.
Emily Bary (E.B.): When did you start playing basketball?
Leslie Leong (L.L.): In first grade. I don’t really know why. My parents just signed me up and all of my friends were playing too. It was an instructional league and we all joined together.
E.B.: And why’d you decide to play here?
L.L.: I actually hadn’t been thinking about it at first but I wasn’t ready to give it up. Ending in high school just seemed too short. I was part of a pretty good team and I had been playing for so long, so I eventually knew that I wanted to continue.
E.B.: How do you think the team’s been doing so far this season?
L.L.: Pretty good. It’s still early in the season, but I think we’ve gotten so much better since the first day of practice. We have a tough week ahead of us because we’re playing the top two NEWMAC teams, but we’ve been making progress since the first day of practice, and we’re getting better each day.
E.B.: What are your goals for the season?
L.L.: Just to get better and hopefully make it to the NEWMAC championship.
E.B.: What are your thoughts on your senior season?
L.L.: It’s bittersweet! I’m not ready to stop playing basketball. But overall, I’m just excited and hoping to make it the best season that I’ve had.
E.B.: Do you want to play basketball after college?
L.L.: Definitely in rec leagues and club leagues, but I’m not sure if it’s going to get more serious than that.
E.B.: What’s it like being a captain?
L.L.: It’s really nice to have the leadership role and to try to make things run smoothly with the team. It’s also nice to be able to communicate with the coaches too and get a better sense of what’s going on with the team, not just on the court but also with the team dynamic. That’s been really good for me, and I think a lot of the stuff we do off the court translates to how well we do on the court. It’s been good for me to become more aware of that.
E.B.: Tell me more about what you do off the court. The basketball team is known for being spirited and going to other teams’ games in the offseason. Why do you do that together?
L.L.: Just because it strengthens the bond between teams in the Wellesley athletics community. We obviously like having support at our games, so we try to encourage and promote that at other games.
E.B.: What’s been the best moment from your time on the team?
L.L.: I would have to say last year when we beat Smith in the NEWMAC semifinals to make it to the championship. That was a pretty awesome feeling.
Wellesley is 3-2 so far on the season and 1-1 in conference play. Leong and the Blue next suit up today, Dec. 4, to face crosstown rival Babson at 7 p.m.