ATLANTA (Jan. 31) – Junior Regina Tate (Columbus, Ga.) has heard the whispers about her athleticism and how it relates to her basketball ability, but Georgia Tech’s junior forward says there is no reason to think she can’t have the best of both worlds.
“I’ve heard everyone say that I’m just an athlete and not a basketball player,” said Tate, who also competes on the Yellow Jackets track and field squad. “I don’t accept that I’m a great athlete and not a basketball player. I think I’m a great athlete who knows how to play basketball. I’m still learning, and that’s the wonderful part. I want to tap into the potential that everyone says I have.”
Tate and the Jackets will look to keep improving their position in the conference standings this week with a pair of Atlantic Coast Conference games at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center. Tech hosts No. 25 Virginia at 7 p.m. Thursday and Wake Forest at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Both games can be seen live in Atlanta on Fox Sports Net South.
There has been no doubting Tate’s athletic ability or basketball potential.
In track and field, Tate finished tied for third in the high jump at the ACC Outdoor Championships.
In basketball, Tate started all 27 games and averaged 9.9 points and 8.7 rebounds last season as a sophomore. She led the Jackets and finished second in the Atlantic Coast Conference in rebounding.
Georgia Tech head coach Agnus Berenato has gone so far to say that Tate could be as good or better than Kisha Ford, the Yellow Jackets’ all-time leading scorer.
Tate got off to a slow start this season, but has shown signs of regaining the form she displayed a year ago. In the Yellow Jackets first 12 games of the season, Tate came off the bench, averaging 4.0 points and 4.2 rebounds on 40 percent shooting from the floor.
Some tried to point to Tate’s class schedule as a reason for her lower numbers. A Dean’s List student in mechanical engineering, Tate has missed significant practice time this season due to a demanding schedule filled with afternoon labs. Tate would have no such talk.
“I think the fact that I wasn’t starting was because I wasn’t producing,” Tate said. “I understood that, and it was a struggle. I don’t think it had anything to do with my academic situation. I kept hearing that its was because I wasn’t in practice. I don’t think it was that, and I don’t think it was a lack of focus. I was just in a slump.”
She returned to the starting lineup in early January, and Tate has experienced an increase in numbers. Since returning to the lineup on Jan. 6, Tate is averaging 9.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and shooting better than 53 percent from the floor.
The breakthrough, Tate says, did not come overnight. It came from continued hard work and her personal faith in God, both of which are important aspects of Tate’s life.
“In the book of Proverbs it talks about the plans of the diligent make a profit, and you reap what you sow,” Tate said. “I believe that so much with all of my heart. When you sow something with hard work, the benefits are going to come. I have gotten a breakthrough, but the public didn’t see the breakthrough until my stats went up. In my heart, though, I knew the breakthrough came way before then. It came when I started being more intense in practice.
“I take pride in my work ethic. If you work hard, there is a sure reward. There’s something on the other end. It may only be one game, but it’s worth it. It’s worth the work.”
And there is plenty more work to do for Tate and the Jackets.
The Jackets finished 4-4 after the first round of conference play, marking the first time in three seasons Tech has had a .500 league record at the midway point of the season. With another run through the conference still to come, Tate and the Jackets still have their sights set on the team’s preseason goal – to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
“You have to have a goal,” Tate said. “You have to have a purpose and be driven in what you do. Right now, we’re taking hold of the vision that Coach Berenato has of going to the tournament. We have to take ownership of that vision. It can’t just be Coach B’s dream. It can’t just be hers because she’s not playing, we are. Everything starts in your mind. It starts with you believing it.”
And Tate not only believes she’s going to the tournament.
She also believes that she is not just an athlete. She’s also a basketball player.
Feb. 3 #25/24 Virginia (FSNS) 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 6 Wake Forest (RSN) 12:30 p.m.
Last Week’s Results
Did Not Play
Series with Virginia
Virginia and Georgia Tech meet for the 46th time Thursday, and the Cavaliers hold a 41-4 advantage in the series dating back to Nov. 24, 1979.
Virginia has won the last four meetings in the series, including an 83-70 decision earlier this season in Charlottesville.
The Yellow Jackets have, however, won two of the last three meetings at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center. In fact, all of Tech’s wins in the series have come in Atlanta.
Series with Wake Forest
Wake Forest and Georgia Tech meet for the 40th time Sunday, and the Yellow Jackets hold a 22-17 advantage in the series dating back to Nov. 25, 1979.
The Yellow Jackets have won the last two meetings in the series and eight of the last nine. Tech defeated the Demon Deacons earlier this season in Winston-Salem, N.C., 73-62, on Jan. 6.
Tech has won the last nine home games with Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons last win in Atlanta came on Jan. 6, 1990 with Wake claiming a 70-52 victory.