"Emily is the definition of a dedicated student-athlete,” Head Basketball Coach Jenny Logan said about sophomore guard Emily McCombs (Culpeper, Va./Eastern View). “She puts in countless hours outside of practice working on her shot. It is such a joy to see it pay off for her!"
And it is paying off. After four straight games of scoring in the double digits, Emily is the top scorer for the Royals at 13.0 points per game.
“Coming out of last year, I just wanted a totally different season for myself,” Emily explained, “and I expected a lot more from myself, so I spent… I don’t even know how many hours in the gym, just lifting, trying to get stronger and get more comfortable and consistent in my shot.”
Emily highlighted one of the biggest differences in her own play between this season and last.
“I think just overall confidence, like my confidence in myself. Last year I was very timid and didn’t really attack and now I’m just confident and kind of letting the game come to me and staying within myself.”
This is Coach Logan’s first year at EMU and Emily found the transition easier than she expected.
“I mean, I absolutely loved Coach (Kevin) Griffin, we had a really good relationship and he was a big reason I’m here,” she said, “but then Coach Logan came in and we just clicked from the jump. She’s had my back, and I have her back, and it’s been an easy transition, surprisingly.”
Basketball is a big part of Emily’s family culture.
“I got my first basketball hoop when I was six months old,” she said. “And I started playing organized basketball when I was in first grade. I started playing with my sister, too, and my dad was my high school coach and my mom was right there with us, so it’s been a family thing.”
She dedicates her free time to her sport and her family, often at the same time.
“I mean, if I have 20 minutes I’m going to spend it in the gym. And then just my family and I are super close, so if I have 12 hours I’m going to take that time to go home, and a lot of that is going to be my family and I in the gym. That’s just how we go. Sports is everything.”
Emily is an elementary education major with a coaching minor. Coaching basketball is “most definitely” part of her vision for life after college.
But for now, she’s focused on her own time as an athlete.
“I just want to stay consistent,” she said. “That doesn't necessarily have to be scoring. I pride myself in being the vocal leader and doing the little things that might not show up on the stat sheet.”
She has goals for her team as well.
“I think just to grow every day and learn to trust each other,” she said. “And I think we have so much talent on the team, we can’t let it go to waste. I think come February and the ODAC Tournament, we have a chance to be one of those teams that can shock a lot of people.”
-- by Elizabeth Nisly, EMU Sports Information Writing Intern