Sophomore guard Eve Zelinger traveled quite a long way from her hometown of Palo Alto, Calif., to suit up for the Dartmouth Big Green, but for her the distance was no big deal, being born on the East Coast, she already had a natural draw.
Zelinger entered her sophomore season after seeing plenty of time on the court as a freshman due to injuries. During her freshman season, she saw court time in 19 games and made her first career start against Yale, where she had career highs in rebounds, assists and steals. She played her best game of her short collegiate career against Columbia last season when she exploded for a career-high 14 points against the Lions. This season, Zelinger has been a key piece off the Dartmouth women's basketball puzzle off the bench. She's seen action in 15 games with one start at Kansas State and is averaging 2.6 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.
Although just a sophomore, Zelinger has a fascination with crime and during her youth days spent time as a Palo Alto Youth Explorer, working with the Palo Alto Police Department and even tagging along on ride alongs and she's looking into a career in that field.
Zelinger sat down with DartmouthSports.com to talk a little bit about her fascination with crime, her favorite WNBA player and her favorite spot on campus.
DartmouthSports.com: You are from California, what enticed you to Hanover, N.H., all the way from the California?
Zelinger: I was born on the East Coast so it was a natural draw. In particular though, I was excited about Dartmouth because of the warm community, the exciting combination of challenging academics and athletics, and the natural beauty of the campus. I especially love the change of seasons.
DartmouthSports.com: What is your favorite thing about Dartmouth women's basketball?
Zelinger: Definitely my teammates! We are like a family with a lot of sisters. We have fun together and they are a great support system.
DartmouthSports.com: You're from a pretty athletic family. Your mom played tennis at Stanford and your grandfather played basketball at Denver, do you think you inherited some of your athletic capabilities?
Zelinger: My dad likes to say, it's a good thing I inherited his height and my mom's hand-eye coordination and not the reverse. I definitely think my athleticism is genetic.
DartmouthSports.com: What has it been like have Yolanda Griffith be one of your coaches? Were you a little "star struck" when you first met her?
Zelinger: I really love having Coach Yo on the coaching staff. She is funny, inspiring and has a wealth of knowledge about basketball. She is also really positive, encouraging and her coaching style is very motivating. I love having her as a coach.
DartmouthSports.com: Who is your favorite WNBA or NBA player and why?
Zelinger: One of my favorite players is Diana Taurasi from the Phoenix Mercury. I love her tenacity and court sense. She is a really smart player. I followed her throughout her college career at UConn and it's fun to watch her play now in the WNBA.
DartmouthSports.com: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Zelinger: Playing in front of my family, friends, and high school coaches in northern California at Berkeley this winter was one of the highlights of my career thus far.
DartmouthSports.com: You are only a sophomore and have plenty of time to figure it all out but what do you think you want to do when you "grow up"?
Zelinger: Ever since I was little I have been fascinated with crime. I used to beg my parents to tell me scary stories about criminals before I went to bed. In high school, I was a Palo Alto Police Explorer and worked with the police department going on ride-alongs, participating in sting operations, and we even visited the County jail and morgue. Today, I am still really intrigued by issues related to criminal justice, so I would probably love to do something related to that.
DartmouthSports.com: Do you have any pregame rituals?
Zelinger: I like to visualize myself on the court and eat a few jelly belly sports beans for some quick energy. The blue kind is the best!
DartmouthSports.com: Where is your favorite place on campus?
Zelinger: I love Occom Pond. It's a one-mile loop around and it's on the northern side of campus. It's a great place for study break walks, little jogs, or a place to clear your head. It's especially cool to see how the landscape changes with the seasons.
DartmouthSports.com: What Ivy League opponent do you look forward to playing every year and why?
Zelinger: There's just something about playing Harvard. There is no real extrinsic motivation necessary and the competitiveness and high energy in the gym is exhilarating.
DartmouthSports.com: Who is the funniest person on the team and what makes them so funny?
ZELINGER: I think this award goes to freshman, Kamala Thomson. She is the ultimate jokester and never fails to make me laugh.
DartmouthSports.com: What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Zelinger: My high school coach used to say "hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard." I have definitely taken this to heart and always try to give my best effort on and off the court. I owe it to myself, my team and everyone who has coached and helped me achieve success along the way.
This Q & A was featured in the Princeton-Penn game program (Feb. 10-11)