BLACKSBURG, VA (WJHG/WECP) - Yet another success story courtesy of Roonie Scovel and the Gulf Coast women's basketball program, one that has led a GCSC alum to professional hoops.
Taylor Emery has signed a free agent contract with the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA and will now take a shot at making that roster in a couple of weeks.
Gulf Coast fans certainly remember Emery. After transferring from Tulane, she thrived under coaches Scovel and Hicks, winning NJCAA Player of the Year honors in the 2016-17 season. She led by averaging 19 points per game, helping to win Panhandle Conference, state, and national titles.
Emery continued her education and hoops career at Virginia Tech, earning All-ACC honors this season. In just two seasons with the Hokies, she stamped her name all over the program record book.
Emery departs Blacksburg 11th in points with more than 1,300, the highest scoring average at 18.8 ppg, and now owns the two highest single season scoring totals in school history, with 667 points last season setting a school record as well.
All that led many to believe she could be taken in the three round WNBA draft two weeks ago, but that didn't happen. Instead, Emery signed a free agent deal with the Lynx.
"Yeah, you know I'm not disappointed," Emery said about her free agent status. "Before the draft, I gave a prayer and said, 'just put me where you feel I'm supposed to be, put me where you feel I should be, whether I'm drafted or not.' I feel like Minnesota is a good fit. I think I'm just gonna go out there and compete and show I can play at the next level, and pray that everything works out from there."
Getting passed over in the draft can work to her advantage, something Emery understands.
"Oh yeah for sure. I've always been the type of kid who's a hard worker and I'm always overlooked. And no matter where I go...you know junior college is the first college where I've been and I got recognized for the things that I did. Other than that, I've always been the underdog. I'm just gonna go out and play hard and try and prove some people wrong. That's my goal: to play with a chip on my shoulder like I have been for the past couple of years."
Even though she only spent one season at Gulf Coast, Emery remains appreciative of the mentoring she received from Scovel and the staff.
"They kept me on the right path. They were on me tough, offensively and defensively they were on my butt to start making shots because that's what she needs from me, she needs me to make shots. She was the first coach that was actually on me like that, to put the ball in the bucket. Most of all, they just gave me an opportunity to go out there and show what I could do."
Emery tips off training camp early next month, shortly after she graduates. She's on a waiting list for veterinary school as a back up plan.