July 16, 2010
By Kyle Sears
ATLANTA – One of three members of the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team’s incoming freshman class, Tyaunna Marshall admitted the move from Maryland to Atlanta nearly a month ago was an adjustment.
First, there was trying to find room for her belongings both in the car and in the dorm room, and then, seeing the sad looks on the faces of her parents as the realization set in that they would be leaving their daughter 650 miles from home.
On top of it all was the Georgia heat.
“I got down here, and I was like, `Whoa, it’s hot everyday,'” Marshall said. “You’re praying for rain. But I’m adjusting pretty well.”
However, adjusting has never seemed to be much of a problem for the guard, at least not on the basketball court.
As a freshman at Elizabeth Seton High in Bladensburg, Md., Marshall was part of a team that won just two games.
“High school was a journey,” she said. “We got better every year, and my senior year we finally won a championship.”
Actually, Marshall’s team won both conference and city championships–the first time the school had achieved such dual feats in nine years–and she was its leading scorer in each of the title games with 30 and 23 points, respectively.
Fast-forward from March to June, and Marshall had moved into her dorm, waved goodbye to her parents, and begun making the transition from high school to college.
She quickly learned that maintaining a high level of success both on and off the court would involve a whole other set of adjustments.
“There’s so much more that comes along with [college], so much more freedom, but at the same time you’re locked down,” Marshall said.
After waking up for morning workouts between 6:30-7:30 a.m. and going to either two or three classes depending on the day, she said she is often up past midnight working on homework.
“In high school, I got out of school around 2 or 3 o’clock, and then I had practice until about 5. Then I’d get home, and I’d be doing homework until probably around 8,” Marshall said.
But Marshall’s already developed a support system to help her through her new schedule.
It begins with senior teammate Deja Foster, who developed a relationship with Marshall prior to her coming to Georgia Tech primarily via Facebook and text messaging.
Through these avenues, Foster was able to offer encouragement to Marshall and give her updates about goings-on around the women’s basketball program.
Then there is sophomore teammate Mo Bennett, who serves as Marshall’s workout partner.
“Mo’s real cool. She’s encouraging,” the freshman said.
Marshall said she receives ample encouragement from the rest of her teammates, in addition to Foster and Bennett.
“It keeps me going,” she said. “When I think times are getting tough and it’s hard and I can’t keep going, they’ll be like, `Let’s go Ty. Let’s go Ty,’ and they keep pushing me, and I get through it.”
Marshall said the support does not stop there, however, as it extends beyond her teammates to the entire incoming class of freshmen in all sports at Georgia Tech.
“We just got close really quickly, and we’ve formed bonds already,” she said. “We have classes together. We hang out with each other on the weekends.”
For all the adjustments she is making, Marshall said the thing that was probably the easiest to get used to was the hospitality.
“I have an aunt in North Carolina, so I’m not really used to the Southern living, but kind of,” she said. “I didn’t think I would get that close to people that quick. But I got on campus, and it’s like people are so friendly here.”
As pleasantly surprised as she has been with her reception on The Flats, Marshall is putting in the work, through morning workouts and open gym, in order to return the favor with results on the court come November.