Another year older, another year wiser. Sophomore Chyna Golden was one of the five incoming freshmen Pitt welcomed last year to make up the youngest Division I team in women's basketball.
The Neptune, N.J,. native worked hard during the summer to improve her game on all levels and in the process has earned a starting spot when the Panthers tip off against Youngstown State today.
Q: How have you seen yourself grow from the end of last season on March 2 to now as we begin you're the 2012-13 season. ?
Golden: I felt like last season I really wasn't
myself. I liked getting rebounds
and playing the high post, and I felt like I really wasn't playing that game, which didn't really provide an opportunity for me to be very successful. So, I took the time in the spring and summer to improve. When I went home I worked with my trainer and worked on getting shots up. I also worked on my game at the high post, on being aggressive and getting rebounds. I felt like going home in the summer just let me do that. It let me get away from everything and let me get back to me. When I got back after the summer I felt like I was doing things so much better. I am so ready to get this season started.
Q: What makes your Pitt family special?
Golden: I refer to my teammates as family because we
are always together, like "24/10" (laughter). Since we're always
hanging around each other we might as well get to know each other better and
get along - that's what you do as a family. Everyone is always very welcoming
and loving, which is what I really like about Pitt.
Q: Your roommate is teammate Cora McManus. Some
may say you are complete opposites.
Golden: Yeah, Cora and I are cool. We're always
joking around and laughing. Since we do have some dissimilarities in our
personalities I guess you can see it as "opposites attract." Most of
the time we'll just be sitting in the room, watching TV, watching movies, or
trying to catch up on sleep since we don't get a lot of that (laughter).
Q: You verbally committed to Pitt early. What
made Pitt the right choice for a Jersey girl?
Golden: School has always been important to my
family, especially with my mom being a teacher and a part of the education
system. Pitt is a great school that offers an amazing education. With that in
mind, I know that even after my days of playing basketball are over I will
still have a degree from the University of Pittsburgh. And then, obviously, there is basketball. The
Petersen Events Center is a great arena and Pittsburgh is a great city to play
in, plus we are playing in the best conference, the Big East with another
amazing conference for my final two years in the ACC.
Q: How tough was it last week for you as family
and friends battled Hurricane Sandy?
Golden: It was really hard because now when I go back
home in the summer and want to go to the beach with my friends it's going to be
totally different considering most of it was ruined. I live about five minutes
from the beach, so I was there all the time. But, the most important thing to
me was that my family and all the other people that were affected were okay,
because we can always rebuild a house and fix the material aspects. It's bittersweet
because I enjoy going home, but now when I do I will see that all of the places
I used to go to in the summer will be gone.
Q: You have a special affection for the
Nickelodeon character SpongeBob SquarePants. How did that come about?
Golden: I think SpongeBob is kind of crazy and unique, like me, so I just always seemed to like the show. In high school I would carry around a SpongeBob backpack and when I didn't have it people would be ask, 'Chyna, where's your SpongeBob backpack?" People knew me by my love for SpongeBob. I have my SpongeBob covers, my SpongeBob pillow and I even have a little SpongeBob beanie baby. It actually all started when I was a little older. I think everyone enjoys something that makes them feel like a little kid. Some people like Dora the Explorer, or Tigger, or Winnie the Pooh, but I just like SpongeBob.
Q: Do you have any crazy nicknames?
Golden: Yes, but I am not telling you (laughter). It could be used against me later.