Both Ends of the Floor
Sophomore wing Chanin Scott making a big splash at both ends of the floor
By Jon Cooper
The Good Word
To play for Georgia Tech women’s basketball coach MaChelle Joseph you better be committed to playing defense.
Chanin Scott is and has been since day one as a freshman.
To start for Joseph you better be able to contribute at both ends of the floor.
Scott is showing she can do that as a sophomore this season.
Heading into Tech’s Junkanoo Jam opener against Ivy League power Penn, the versatile 6-0 sophomore guard from Charlotte, N.C., has thrived as a starter and is a big reason the Jackets are 5-0 for the second straight season and the fifth time in Joseph’s tenure.
Scott is second on the team in scoring, averaging 11.8 points per game (only guard Francesca Pan is scoring more, at 12.4 ppg), and field goal percentage, shooting 56.3 percent (only forward Zaire O’Neil has a higher percentage at 58.8) and is tied for the team lead in offensive rebounds (14, with the 6-4 O’Neil).
Defensively, she is pulling down a team-best 6.6 rebounds per game, with two blocked shots (one behind team-leader Lorela Cubaj (6-4) and tied with forwards Breana Brown (6-3) and Pan (6-1) -- all taller than her) and 11 steals, second, behind point Imani Tilford (16) and tied with guard Kaylan Pugh.
Not surprisingly, Scott has earned the second-most playing time -- 22.4 mpg, behind only Pan’s 24.6.
“She’s our defensive catalyst, she gets deflections, she plays the top of our presses and defensively I think she kind of sets the tone,” said Joseph. “I think with her size and athleticism she can guard all five positions on the floor. She’s one of our best defenders but she’s also one of our best players in the press. So that’s why we started her to begin with was because of her defensive presence.”
An extra benefit has been the offense.
Scott had seven double-figure-scoring games and averaged 4.5 points on 43.0 percent shooting last season. She heads into the game with Penn riding back-to-back-to-back double-figure scoring games -- one shy of her career longest streak -- and includes a 16-point, 13-rebound double-double at Princeton. Both were career-highs, as were the 30 minutes she played in the game.
Joseph noticed this more productive Chanin Scott during the summer.
“I think the tour in Italy really helped her gain her confidence and understand what her role is on the team,” she said. “I think offensively, she’s learned how to score and she’s learned what her strengths are. Before she was always a great athlete but I think she’s starting to come into her own and develop her skills.”
Scott feels more confident because she feels she’s smarter than a year ago. She credits the extra points she’s giving to the pointers she’s received from coaches and teammates in practice.
“I’ve improved my basketball IQ a lot,” she said. “That has come from help in practice when coach corrects my mistakes or from my teammates who have given me little tidbits of information of things that I can do better.
“I’ve been trying to work on being consistent in practice and in games,” she added. “Just really focusing on that, finishing well in practice and trying to transfer that to the game has really helped.”
Developing her game and being more consistent offensively was important in going from a spark off the bench (she did start nine times as a freshman, the Jackets were 5-4 in those games) to a starter.
Scoring more, of course, is fun but Scott is really enjoying her jump in offensive rebounds.
“Offensive rebounding is probably my favorite part of basketball,” she said. “It’s a team thing. We all want to get as many offensive rebounds as we can.”
It’s difficult to imagine the elbows to the ribs, and pushes and shoves while battling girls that almost always are bigger would be anyone’s favorite part of the game, but Scott sees things differently.
“I like to jump,” said the former high school star volleyball player and all-state high-jumper, with a laugh. “It’s just boxing out and get the rebound, just go after it. It just is a rush for me.”
Scott’s improvements to her game have allowed her to fill a role that has become a signature piece of Joseph’s Georgia Tech teams.
“That’s something we’ve been known for, traditionally here is having a great rebounding guard,” said Joseph. “I think one of the things that we knew Chanin was capable of is getting to the offensive glass.”
Of course the defense is there.
With all those extra rebounds and steals, comes responsibility with the ball. Joseph has noticed improvement once Scott does gain possession.
“When she gets the defensive rebound now she can start the break, where last year she would have to outlet it to the point guard,” said Joseph. “So I think she’s helped us offensively be a better transition team by improving her ball-handling.”
Heading into the Junkanoo Jam, Tech has averaged 12.0 fastbreak points a game and outscored opponents on the break in four of their first five games by a 60-25 margin.
In addition to a more proficient and faster break, with Scott starting, the Jackets also are starting games faster. So far, Georgia Tech has outscored opponents 103-49 (20.6 to 9.8 per game) in the first 10 minutes and has recorded three of the team’s six single-digit-defensive quarters.
While it’s all good starting, Scott says regardless of starting or coming off the bench, it’s all the same to her.
“As long as you get in and play hard, that’s all I’m concerned with.”