White has quickly accomplished both of her goals in her young career at State. She has been in the starting lineup at guard every game so far this season, and Tan is currently first on the team in assists and steals. She is also second on the team in scoring with 18.2 points per game, and surprisingly second on the team in rebounds to Thomas with 7.2 per game.
Although the stats might not agree, White said she does not go into the game looking to score big. She said, "It doesn't matter about points. If I can get the points I'll take them, but it's not all about the points. This is team ball and that is what I am looking for."
White came into MSU as the reigning Gatorade Player of the Year in the state, but does not step onto the court trying to win awards. She said, "When I go out on the floor I just try and play hard. I don't look for what I can get, I just play the game."
Tan is the type of player that every coach likes to have on his or her team. She is an extremely talented player, but wants to help out the team a lot more than trying to make herself look better. LaToya Thomas is clearly the star of the team, and sometimes a freshman or other young players have trouble dealing with not being the main focus. Tan White is not that type of player. Her main goal is seeing the team get better, although she wants to help Thomas improve as well.
White said, "I came to (Mississippi State) to help LaToya get more shots and get better as a team. They were double teaming her a lot so I came and now they don't just look at her, they look at all the perimeter players."
Tan said the presence of Thomas has helped to take some of the pressure off of her, but feels things will change when conference play begins. She said, "As SEC play starts I know all the teams are going to be looking to trap the two of us, so I am going to have to stay focused."
As good as her game is, Tan knows there is room for improvement. She said defense is one of the things she wants to work on. White said, "My goals for the season are to play better defense and get assists. It's not all about points like I said, and I'm looking to pick up my defense."
It will be interesting to see her play when the defense does pick up. Not only is White first on the team in steals, but her 1.4 blocks per game is also a team best.
It is great to have a player like Tan White on the team. Some of the most exciting basketball to watch comes from people who just want to play the game. White said she was recruited by most of the other schools in the conference, but came to State to be close to family and because she knew that she would be able to play right away. As a coach you have to love the players that really want to play, and who will work hard to get into the lineup.
White said, "I hope we make it far this year and can get to the Sweet 16." That is a pretty lofty team goal, but the way she has achieved her goals already for this year who is going to bet against her?
As the season continues through the end of this year and on into conference play, look for White to be on the court doing whatever it takes to make this team better.
Hank Allen is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. Hank is a student at Mississippi State University. He is also a reporter for the student newspaper, The Reflector. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.