Scott stepping into leadership role at Eastern Washington
BY DARRELL MOODY
Nevada Appeal Sports Writer
It was like a Carson High School reunion Friday night at Lawlor Events Center. A good-sized contingent of family, former coaches and former teammates came to watch Eastern Washington’s Nicole Scott in her season-opening game against the Wolf Pack.
Unfortunately for Scott, she didn’t have the game she had hoped ” two points, two blocked shots and five rebounds in 19 minutes of action. However, she was all smiles as she visited and posed for pictures with former classmates and teammates like Rosella Nunez, Brandi Vega and Constance McAlman and former coaches Wayne Nash and Ron Tamori.
Scott, a junior, started to come into her own last season for the Eagles, starting the last 11 games of the season for coach Wendy Schuller. She averaged 10.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per contest while blocking 1.1 shots per game, good for eighth in the Big Sky Conference.
“She’s our most experienced post player, and she’s improved every year,” Eastern Washington coach Wendy Schuller said after Friday afternoon’s shootaround. “We’re really looking for her to be a leader. She is the veteran of our post group.”
Scott seems to have embraced the leadership role that Schuller has envisioned for her, and that was evident on Friday night. Even though she was forced to the bench because of early foul trouble, she encouraged younger teammates like Pauline Ferrall and Meaghan White whenever they were in the game.
“It (being a leader) just kind of happened,” Scott said. “In the summer when everybody came up for summer school, all the new players were there. We needed leadership in the post.
“As I’ve gotten older, it becomes more of a need, especially when you have young posts. I want them to be able to look up to me and I want to be a role model (on and off the court).”
Scott, who was a dominant offensive player in high school, said she has learned to be patient over the last two years. She shot 41 percent from the floor, including 32 percent from 3-point range over that span.
“I’m trying to take my time instead of just getting rid of it quickly (by shooting or passing),” Scott said. “I’m looking at my options.”
“She can score down low, but she has a nice outside shot,” Shuller said. “She can shoot the 3-pointer. She’ll flash high or pop out on a ball screen. We like to get her out on the perimeter.”
Scott had two big games last year, scoring a career-high 23 against Montana State and adding 19 against Portland State. In the game against Montana State she set individual records for field goals made (10) and field goals attempted (23).
Scott also has learned some patience at the defensive end of the floor. She’s learned about positioning, how to front an opponent, how to play from the side. It’s been an ongoing process. On Friday, she did a nice job denying Shavon Moore early in the contest. No more is it about playing behind her opponent and trying to block everything.
“I’m not trying to block everything,” Scott said. “In high school, I was usually the tallest player, and it was easy to block shots. You get to college, and everybody is pretty tall so it’s not as easy.”
Scott’s game is a work in progress. One thing that she said didn’t faze her was the speed of the game. She credits former Nevada star, Matt Williams, her AAU coach at Jam It On Academy, for helping in that area.
“We had more of an up-tempo team,” Scott said. “That helped make the transition easier. It wasn’t as much of a shock when I came to (Eastern Washington).”
While Friday was a bit of a downer, Scott has high hopes for the Eagles, who suffered through a 4-25 season a year ago.
“I think we’re going to do well,” Scott said. “We’re still trying to get everybody to work together. We have six new players this year, so it will take some time.”
– Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org or (775) 881-1281