Nov. 25, 2012
By Jon Cooper Sting Daily
Dawnn Maye gets the point.
In fact, she’s getting a lot of points — so many that her 18.0 points per game not only leads the Yellow Jackets in scoring but ties her for second in the entire ACC, only a point and a half out of the lead.
While it’s not necessarily unusual for a point guard to be a team’s leading scorer, it is quite unusual for it to be the case on THIS team. That’s supposed to be the role of Ty Marshall or maybe even Sydney Wallace.
But five games into the season, there, at the top of the charts is Maye, the junior point.
And it’s not like she’s doing it by neglecting her duties by being selfish and hoisting up shots. Maye is pass-first and enjoys spreading the ball around.
“It’s great having so many different options and people on the wing that you can give it to,” she said. “We’re so versatile on the wing, it’s easy for them to score. When you pass the ball you see different ways of scoring. So it’s good having a lot of different ways of scoring on the wing and the sides.
“We have so many different ways of scoring,” she added. “It’s just whoever’s hands you put the ball in.”
It just so happens that thus far, one of the best ways of scoring for Tech has been when the ball’s put in her hands and stayed there. In four of the Yellow Jackets’ five games Maye has been first or second in shots taken and she led the team in both games during the weekend’s split at the San Juan Shootout.
Of course, the frequency of her shooting hasn’t come into question since she is dishing 3.4 assists per game, tops on the team and 14th in the ACC, and, when she does shoot, she is converting at 49.3 percent, second on the team.
Her shooting more is as much her taking what the other teams are giving her.
Letting Maye shoot wouldn’t have been bad strategy heading into the 2012-13 season, as she had been a career 38.5 percent shooter — although a lot of that was her 28.4 percent as a freshman, when she played on two bad legs.
Maye’s legs are healthy and during the off-season she worked hard to fix the flaw in her offensive game.
“I’ve just gone to the gym more and worked on my weaknesses,” she said. “Shooting was my weakness last year. So I just got in the gym and got up reps. That’s brought me confidence in my shooting.”
That confidence is obvious.
Maye matched her career-high, scoring 23 on Nov. 18 against Marquette at McCamish Pavilion, then topped it in Tech’s first game of the San Juan Shootout, going for 26 on Friday night against Syracuse.
Against Marquette, Maye recorded her first double-double of the season and the second of her career. But the effort against the Golden Eagles wasn’t your typical points-rebounds double-double. The 5-6 point guard, instead got there in points (23) and steals (10). She was four assists shy from a triple-double. Her other double-double, by the way, was Nov. 14, 2010, when she had 14 points and 10 assists at Old Dominion.
To show how rare the points-steals double-double is, the last Georgia Tech points-steals double came on Jan. 5, 2008, when Jacqua Williams went for 14 points and 11 steals at North Carolina. Maye also had the first double-digit steals game for the Jackets since Jill Ingram made 14 thefts on Feb. 29, 2008.
“I didn’t know that,” she said about her accomplishments. “I’m just out there working hard. I don’t think about that. I just want to contribute and help my team win.”
Steals are a big part of how she helps the team win. As a sophomore last season, Maye had a team-high 80 steals in 34 games. Her 2.4 spg ranked fifth in the ACC, and that was averaging only 22.1 minutes per game.
As a junior, Maye is averaging 34.2 minutes per game, second in the conference. Those extra 12 minutes of court time have resulted in her doubling that total, as she is at 5.0 steals per game, 1.7 more than the nearest player, Chelsea Gray of Duke.
But added court time isn’t the sole reason for the defensive improvement. Knowing where to be on the court has contributed as well.
“Coach Joseph helped me realize that watching film,” she said. “We studied games and where I had missed spots. Once I started getting into those spots I worked hard to get the ball and go after the ball. I was just trying to get the ball, basically.”
Maye will continue getting the ball from her teammates to start Tech possessions and from opponents to end theirs while leading the Jackets into what promises to be an emotional stretch over the next 11 days.
Starting Wednesday Tech enters the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, with a trip to Purdue, Coach Joseph’s alma mater. That’s followed on Sunday by the first game against Georgia at McCamish Pavilion, then concludes with the ACC opener on Dec. 6, with a visit to Duke.
Taking on the leadership role was just the thing to do.
“I just basically felt that, losing five seniors, somebody had to step up and take on the load of being the leader since we had so many freshmen,” she said. “I had to come in and know that as a point guard and a defensive person, that’s what I had to do for my team, just be that energy and positive person on the floor.”