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Mutli-talented Tate Has Come a Long Way in Basketball

March 2, 2002

By Simit Shah – February has been a pretty good month for Regina Tate. In the span of 20 days, the Lady Jackets’ hoopster picked up three prestigious pieces of hardware that recognized her work on and off the court.

First, Tate was named Georgia Commission on Women Collegiate Sportswoman of the Year, an award given to a female athlete that best represents her sport in both performance and leadership. Two weeks later the senior was selected to the Verizon Academic All-District team for her prowess in the classroom, where she holds a 3.43 grade point average in mechanical engineering.

Rounding out the trifecta was a third team All-ACC berth earlier this week.

“Those are all great honors, something you can put on your resume, but I don’t get too caught up in all that,” said Tate, a native of Columbus, Ga.

While she may downplay the accolades, Tate has come a long way since head coach Agnus Berenato first spotted her at a basketball clinic. Tate was not heavily recruited by Division I basketball programs, but Berenato was intrigued by her athleticism.

“She saw the potential and the athletic ability, and she said, ‘I want you to come play for me.’ I’ll never forget that. She took a gamble on me and gave me a chance,” Tate said.

Since arriving on campus, Tate has shown steady improvement. The 5-11 forward saw plenty of action her freshman year and became a full-time starter her sophomore season. She averaged 10 points and nine rebounds a game. She shot 52 percent from the field and notched six double-doubles.

Meanwhile, Tate was not only excelling in the classroom, but also joining the track and field team after the basketball season. She finished third two straight years in the high jump at the ACC Championships.

How did she juggle it all?

“Personally, I credit it to time management,” she explained. “It’s all about that. You don’t have to study all day to make good grades. You just have to set aside quality time to be focused and get your work done.”

Tate struggled at times her junior season after starting the season as a reserve. She regained her stride after moving into the starting lineup for the final 19 games of the season. Tate feels she was prepared for a strong senior year, but a stress fracture in her leg derailed those plans.

The injury forced her to sit out the season and take a medical redshirt.

Determined to make the most of her final season, Tate stepped up her workout regimen and enlisted the aid of New York City basketball coach Walter Welsh.

“He took me under his wing in the off-season and helped me develop my shot,” said Tate. “He’s given me more perspective. It’s changed how I see the court and read the defense.”

The hard work has paid off for Tate, as she is enjoying the best year of her career. Her eight rebounds per game ranks second on the team and fourth in the conference. She is also second on the team in scoring with 13 points per game.

Tate and center Sonja Mallory form one of the most potent frontcourt tandems in the conference, and they have been one of the key ingredients for the Lady Jackets’ success this season.

“This year has been a lot better than the previous years,” said Tate. “Our work ethic as a team is great. We’ve always had people that worked hard, but as a team we’ve worked really hard this year. The team and the coaching staff are on the same page, and that’s achieving our goal of making it to the NCAA Tournament.”

The Lady Jackets are on the bubble as they head to the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. this weekend, but Tate has faith in her teammates’ will to win.

“That’s the biggest difference from the last few years,” she said. “Everyone has the desire to continue, and we don’t have a quitter’s mentality. This year, we have the tournament, and we’re still hopeful. We know what we have to do.”

With her career nearing its end, Tate has a firm plan for her future. She will receive her engineering degree in May, and then she’ll take time to prepare for medical school.

So is there enough room on the mantel for all the new trophies and plaques?

“I’m sure my grandparents will find some room. They like to see those things a lot more than I do.”

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