For AACC, Perrone is too prone to pass


Anne Arundel Community College sophomore Denise Perrone would rather pass the ball than shoot it. Assists and steals, the two categories where she leads the women's basketball team, are more satisfying to her than points.

Coach Tom Smith knows this, and he raves about her versatility and the many roles she fills. But he'd like to see a change in the Chesapeake High School graduate.

He wants her to become more selfish.

"There are too many times in game situations where we want her to take shots and she has them, but she's looking to pass," he said. "We want her to be one of the ones who steps up and takes five or six more shots a game. A lot of times, she just wants to fit in as one of the other players."

Perrone began the season playing mostly shooting guard, with an occasional move to small forward. But she also has been used at the point since last month, when starter Dara Cohen, the Pioneers' second-leading scorer, quit the team.

Suddenly, there were two players that Anne Arundel needed to feed off when it had the ball, leading scorer Debbi Dadds and Perrone.

"After Dara left, all the guards had to start shooting more," said Perrone, who is averaging around 10 points a game, two fewer than last year. "I had to be a scorer, more than a passer."

She can rack up the points in many different ways -- on drives to the basket, on put-backs and on jumpers from the outside.

"She's a threat all-around," Smith said, "when she wants to be."

A four-year starter at Chesapeake, Perrone scored only seven points in two games last week. But she had 10 assists and three steals in Saturday's 69-62 loss to Potomac State and seven assists and four steals in Friday's 80-35 win over Catonsville.

On Jan. 10, she had 13 points, seven rebounds and seven steals in a 60-59 loss to Baltimore City Community College.

"It takes me a while to just start shooting," she said. "I'd rather pass it and have the assist. That's how I feel I contribute more."

She has been hampered this year by an injury to her left ankle that has limited her playing time in recent weeks.

"Having it taped makes me feel slower," she said. "It should be healing now, but I just [reinjured] it again Saturday night, so I don't know. It's real weak and I keep twisting it. It's probably going to be an injury that I'll have for the rest of my life. I'll just keep twisting it."

There have been other frustrations for Perrone this season. She has been trying to avoid getting distracted by calls from the officials or her own mistakes.

"Defensively, she does a great job off the ball. She'll cut off somebody a lot of times and get to the point, and we'll think she's made a clean steal or a nice block, but she'll get called for it," Smith said.

"She's got to learn to play through it. She'll let that get her down and we'll lose her for around 10 minutes because she doesn't want to attack and she's worried about her last call. We let her play through that last year as a freshman because we had other people who could carry us, but she's one of the main ones this year and we can't afford for her to do that."

Said Perrone, who also plays soccer and lacrosse: "I try not to do it, but I can't help it sometimes. [Smith] helps me a lot, trying to calm me down. I just have to start controlling my anger. It's anger toward myself. If I do something wrong, I know it and it frustrates me throughout the game."

A physical education major, Perrone said she most likely will transfer to Towson State, where she will have to decide on a sport.

"I was thinking about basketball, but I might play lacrosse," she said. "It would be difficult to give up basketball because I love it, but I love lacrosse, too. Whichever sport I'm in, I like the most."

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