Q&A by Domenick Weinbrenner
Heading into the winter break, the UC San Diego women's basketball team hopes to ruin opponents' holiday cheer as it jumps back into conference play. Holding a 5-3 record, head coach Heidi VanDerveer's Tritons will not only be looking to move up in the CCAA standings, but push their way back into the Top 25, with home wins over Cal State San Bernardino (Dec. 16) and Cal State Dominguez Hills (Dec. 19). A player who may be key to those hopes is senior Cassie MacLeod out of Agoura Hills. She's already made a big impact, averaging 10 points and a team-leading 7.6 rebounds per game. With final exams over and the bulk of the conference schedule looming, Cassie took some time to talk with us about topics ranging from her last year as a Triton, to her love for bacon.
Q: When you hear somebody call you a senior, what thoughts go through your mind?
MacLEOD: I think, "Oh God, I'm so old!," and that it's a bittersweet feeling for it to be my last year in college.
Q: What are your expectations for this season, individually and as a team?
MacLEOD: I have a lot of expectations for this season. I want us to achieve our team potential, which I believe is to win conference, the conference tournament, and get far in the NCAA tournament as well. Individually, my expectations are to have fun and help my team win games.
Q: What is the camaraderie like on this team?
MacLEOD: Our team camaraderie is awesome because we are all best friends. My favorite team activity that we do is getting burritos and watching the sunset at the beach.
Q: What is it like having the holidays right in the middle of your season? What do you like and dislike about it?
MacLEOD: Other people might think it stinks to have to stay at school and play basketball all winter break, but I love it. It's nice because we don't have to deal with school for three weeks, and we can just focus on basketball. I dislike that I don't have the time to go skiing, because I grew up doing that every winter.
Q: The past few games, you have been a rebounding force, reaching double digits in three of the past four games and setting a career high with 14, only to beat it with 17 a few nights later. To what do you attribute this recent uptick in rebounds?
MacLEOD: I try my best to help my team in any way possible. If I'm not doing well in other areas, I make it a personal goal to get rebounds, because that's all about effort.
Q: Growing up, what pushed you toward your love for basketball?
MacLEOD: Besides pushing myself, I would say my dad pushed me the most. He always pushed me to try every sport out there, until I found the one I loved the most, which turned out to be basketball.
Q: You have a twin sister, Blair. What was that like growing up as a twin?
MacLEOD: I loved growing up with a twin. She's my best friend. It also helped that we are complete opposites and have very few common interests. We were never compared to each other like most twins probably are.
Q: Your favorite basketball player is Kobe Bryant. What do you like most about his game? Have you tried to adopt any parts of his game into your own?
MacLEOD: I've been a Laker fan since I was young. Therefore, Kobe is a legend to me! Kobe is awesome at everything, but I think the thing I've tried to adopt into my own game is his aggressive mentality.
Q: You are studying communication at UC San Diego. How has that helped you on the court interacting with your teammates? Do you find yourself being more of a vocal leader on the court?
MacLEOD: Being a communication major has definitely benefited me in communicating with my teammates on the floor. However, being a senior and knowing that people look to me as an example, is what I feel makes me a vocal leader. All the seniors on the team play an important vocal role.
Q: According to your bio, you love bacon. What's your preference, crispy or chewy? Favorite bacon dish and why? Did you go to Bacon Fest this year?
MacLEOD: I absolutely love bacon! Of course crispy! My favorite bacon dish is just plain bacon. I have never heard of Bacon Fest, but I'll definitely look into it.
Q: What is one thing you want to accomplish before leaving UC San Diego?
MacLEOD: I want our team to win the CCAA Tournament.
Previous Triton Q&A Features
Natalie Tang (Women's Swimming & Diving) November 18, 2016
Nolan Mac (Men's Soccer) October 13, 2016
Scott Acton (Men's Cross Country) October 6, 2016
Marie Paris (Women's Volleyball) September 16, 2016
Kiera Bocchino (Women's Soccer) September 2, 2016
Nick Alexander (Men's Water Polo) August 23, 2016
Karina Carstens (Women's Cross Country) August 8, 2016
Amanda Colla (Women's Volleyball) July 22, 2016
Palano Twins (Men's Soccer) July 13, 2016
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