Wake Up Call
Yellow Jackets looking to bounce back against Wake Forest in Chanin Scott’s homecoming
By Jon Cooper
The Good Word
There’s nothing like home cooking to get a team back on the right track.
Georgia Tech women’s basketball (13-5, 2-3 ACC) will make due with home cooking from Chanin Scott’s home state of North Carolina when they take on Wake Forest (11-7, 2-3 ACC) Sunday afternoon at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Tip-off is at 2 p.m.
Scott, who grew up in Charlotte, about 70 miles from Winston-Salem, helps lead a Yellow Jacket team that is ravishing and ready to eat up anyone that gets in its path, as the memory of Wednesday night’s 91-51 loss at No. 8/9 Louisville is still fresh in its memory.
“It was tough,” said Scott, who is averaging 6.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals (24) in 21.0 minutes of her freshman season (4.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, and 0.8 spg in 20.4 mpg in ACC play). “No one showed up on Wednesday. That was not our team. That just wasn’t us. The way we played was not acceptable in any way.
“Our mindset heading into Wake Forest is we have a goal to get to the NCAAs. If we keep having repeated behaviors like a couple of nights ago then we won’t be able to reach our goal,” she added. “We have to keep our mindset as winners and never get too high over a win and don’t get too low over a loss.”
Scott has shown the ability to stay even keel emotionally while displaying a maturity beyond her years, in learning her way through her freshman year.
“I’ve handled it as never under-estimate a team and never over-estimate yourself,” she said. “When you do that, that sets you up for failure. That sets you up to not play hard and to not be your best.”
She’s also learned to lock in during walk-throughs to bring the proper mental approach into gameday.
“The day before a game we usually do a walk-through, practice revealing how we would discern a team’s plays. I really try to be as focused as I can to that,” she said. “I really try to lock in. I try to do everything to the best of my ability, everything the way Coach says.
“I also like to have a goal for myself,” she added. “Every game I try to get five deflections, five rebounds. After I pass my goal I keep going, doing more and doing more. In the ACC, especially, rebounding is really, really crucial.”
All this preparation and goal-setting is paying off. She leads all Yellow Jacket freshmen — and is third overall — with 87 rebounds (her 4.8 rpg are second to Kaylan Pugh amongst guards and fourth overall), and she’s second on the entire team in offensive rebounds with 43, only three behind team leader Zaire O’Neil.
Chanin has especially been resilient.
Since going without a rebound on Dec. 22, at Middle Tennessee — the only game in which she didn’t record a board all season — Scott has pulled down at least three rebounds in every game.
That includes a team-high-tying 10, on Dec. 29 against Princeton, the game immediately after MTSU, a five-rebound game with four on the offensive end at Boston College, then eight caroms with six on the defensive end against Syracuse, all GT wins.
That kind of resilience also has typified the Yellow Jackets this season, who bounced back from a bad loss against Michigan to win three straight games, then won back-to-back ACC games at BC and vs. No. 24 Syracuse following conference-opening losses to top-25 teams Notre Dame and Duke.
It bodes well for their matchup with the Demon Deacons, against whom they’ve won 15 of the last 17 games, and six of the last seven at Joel Coliseum.
Scott said she expected the bounce-back to begin Friday in practice.
“I expect everyone to be focused and locked in,” she said.
As if Scott won’t be focused enough in helping get the Jackets back to their winning ways, she’ll have the added incentive of performing back in her home state for the first time.
“That’s really exciting because it will be the first time some of my friends will be able to see me play,” said the former three-sport all-starter (basketball, volleyball, track) at Myers Park High School. “Maybe they don’t have the channel on their TV or during the week they might have to work, so this is the first time for some of my friends to see me play and that’s really exciting for me. I’m expecting my whole family and maybe some teammates from high school.”
Chanin will come back to her home state again on Feb. 16, when the Jackets visit Chapel Hill to take on North Carolina. That’s a visit she’s also looking forward to.
“The North Carolina game is going to be really big, too. They’re one of the top teams in the ACC. So that will definitely be a big game,” she said. “A lot of my classmates from high school go to Chapel Hill. So there will be a lot more people there that I’ll know, too.”
But that’s down Tobacco Road. Right now, it’s all-Wake, with a capital W.
“We need to win,” she said. “Our mindset going into Wake Forest is focusing on our goal and doing whatever it takes to win.”