The Taylor women’s basketball team picked up where they left off, starting the season with a 2–1 record.
They are on a 2-game win streak, beating Cornerstone University and Madonna University handily.
Taylor took their first win, beating Cornerstone 107–59. They took a 23–3 by the end of the first quarter and never looked back with the lead. They won every quarter. They beat Cornerstone in nearly every statistical category, as their efficiency was sky-high.
Junior Lauren James had an amazing game. She had 22 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Her performance was backed up by junior Merideth Deckard with 16 points, senior Madisyn Fischer with 10 points and freshman Taylor Westgate with 13 points.
“I felt relaxed, more confident,” James said.
She put a lot of emphasis on how needed this win was. In the previous game the Lady Trojans took a tough overtime loss to Concordia. She called it “a sloppy game” and said they needed to get “this bad taste out of (their) mouths.”
Coach Jody Martinez was highly praised by his players for the win. Martinez seemed to be in total agreement with James.
“We were totally relaxed,” He said.
Martinez gave praise to the first half defense and said that once they started to execute defensively, the offense got going.
Martinez also said that by halftime, every player got minutes. This is quite extraordinary, especially for college ball. This game was truly a major win for the Lady Trojans. Martinez still believes the team is a work in progress, though, as they have a lot of underclassmen. He said trying to find their identity on the team and in the Crossroads League will be a challenge.
“I was excited for (Lauren James)... she tore her ACL last year, so she didn’t play at all, having a tough game (against Concordia) with the nerves and anxiety,” Martinez said. “For her to bounce back (against Cornerstone) I think everybody was excited for the game she played. She puts the time in... she is probably the hardest worker I’ve ever coached. This is my 30th year coaching basketball, and I have never seen someone in the gym as much as (James.)”
Taylor then picked up another impressive win, beating Madonna University 95-59. Taylor nearly won every quarter again, dropping the first quarter by just one point. They quickly capitalized on this by outscoring Madonna 22–7 in the second and holding a halftime lead of 42–28. The lead only kept increasing.
“We did not shoot well and had too many turnovers… but we stayed confident and were able to get stops on defense” James said.
The Trojans started to pull away in the second quarter. James said that Martinez challenged her and her teammates to pick up the intensity on defense and be the aggressors. The team did just that.
Senior Madisyn Fischer had a career night against Madonna. She had 19 points, three assists, three steals, three blocks and six rebounds. She was dominant on both ends of the floor.
Junior Kayla Kirtley has said this season is something to look forward to, and it sure looks like it.
“We (the team) are improving each day and look to continue to work together,” she said.
Kirtley’s personal goal is to be a starter throughout the season, and a starter she is. She’s played all three games in the season so far, getting anywhere from 15–25 minutes per game. Her best performance was against Concordia, where she totaled 17 points, four rebounds and an assist.
Since Concordia, she hasn’t scored as much, but has had great numbers on defense. In the Cornerstone win, she tallied one block and steal a piece. In the Madonna win, she recorded five key defensive rebounds, along with one block.
“Getting the rebounds and pushing the ball in transition was how I helped my team get ahead early,” Kirtley said.
Coach Martinez hopes that fans see a lot of energy, both offensive and defensive.
“We are going to take the open shot… hopefully you will get to see a lot of style, energy, and like the way we play” he said.