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Just Right

Dec. 19, 2009

by Jon Cooper, Contributing Editor

ATLANTA — Sharena Taylor is made to be a point guard.

Her name says that.

You can’t spell Sharena without first spelling, “share.” It’s almost as if her name was crafted to combine the words “share” and “ballerina.”

It took less than 10 games for the 5-foot-9 Pontiac, Mich., native to lock up a spot in the Georgia Tech rotation, and make a name for herself throughout the Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC named her Rookie of the Week for the week of Dec. 7 through 13.

“I think it has sunk in,” said Taylor, who was averaging 5.4 points, 2.1 assists, and 2.8 rebounds in 19.2 minutes per game before four points with three assists in Friday night’s 94-48 win at Kennesaw State. “To get an accolade like that, it has sunk in and it feels good.”

It feels good but is not surprising to her.

“I’m usually a pretty confident person,” she said. “You have your freshman flaws, you have your mishaps here and there that you have as a freshman, but overall I’m a pretty confident player. When you’re confident and you go into those situations, into games confident, your results are always good.”

Assistant director of basketball operations and former Tech point guard Alex Stewart, who acts as a mentor to Taylor, shares that confidence and lack of surprise that the Detroit Country Day School star has already found her bearings on the collegiate level.

“Coach (MaChelle Joseph) knew when recruiting her the kind of player she is,” said Stewart, a two-time All-ACC player and three-year captain at Tech from 1999 through 2004 who twice led the conference in assists and once in free-throw percentage. “It was just a matter of her getting to know the expectations. But we did know and we were hoping that she would make an impact this soon. We’re very pleased that she is.

“Sharena is a very good point guard, good size, strong, she can shoot the ball decently, as well as she can get to the rim,” she continued. “She sees things very well on the court and she shares the ball very well.”

Taylor showed how well she can share on Dec. 13 in the Yellow Jackets’ 89-41 victory over Mississippi Valley State. In 26 minutes of action, she handed out a team-season-high seven assists (she had 11 total entering the game), only turned the ball over once, and scored 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting (2-for-2 from the foul line).

“I just wanted to share the ball with my teammates, make opportunities, create for them and create for myself as well,” she said. “I really did not know (about the season-best total) at all. I did have the opportunity to make great passes and that’s just because of my teammates. My teammates were able to fill lanes and were able to spot up and I was able to get them the ball. If it wasn’t for my teammates being in those spots I wouldn’t have had those assists.”

Taylor knows the job of a good point guard is to keep everyone happy. It’s something she did well against Mississippi Valley State, as four different players scored off Taylor passes and is a role she takes upon herself even when the game is over.

“Everybody loves her,” said Stewart. “She’s happy-go-lucky, always smiling. Even if you kind of feel a little down, you see Sharena and her smile, it brings a little life to you. She’s just a good kid, always happy, excited. She’s just excited by life in general.”

Life is about to get even more exciting as Taylor and her Tech teammates will soon rush headlong into the ACC portion of the schedule.

“I am really excited to see this ACC competition,” she said. “We’ve played some pretty great teams thus far, but I’m really excited to get it started.”

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