In a year of unordinary circumstances, Taylor women’s basketball hasn’t dropped the ball.
The recent history of the Taylor’s women’s basketball team is filled with winning seasons and national tournament appearances. However, after graduating five senior starters last year, this team has plenty of fresh faces.
Coach Jody Martinez weighed in on the preseason expectations for his team.
“This team was looked at by outsiders to have an average season, because I graduated all 5 senior starters from last season’s 30–4 team,” Martinez said. “We are currently 17–5 with 4 games left on the schedule before tournament play.”
With two of their five losses at the hands of No. three ranked Marian, the Trojans have certainly fared very well this season. Their other three losses were all away games, against Concordia, Huntington and Mount Vernon.
But the losses don’t tell the whole story. A 12–1 home record has made Odle Arena quite the fortress for the Trojans. On offense, the team has exceeded the 100-point mark twice and scored at least 90 points in five other games.
“So far, I think we have exceeded other peoples' expectations for us, but as a team we know we have to keep improving to meet our team goals,” said junior guard Lauren James.
With the ongoing pandemic, this season has presented new and unique challenges for all athletic competitions. Frequent testing and occasional quarantines have helped to both mitigate the spread of the virus and ensure the safety of the athletes. Unfortunately, this has also caused several cancellations.
Thus far, only three games have been cancelled due to COVID-19. Several members of the women’s basketball team have expressed their thoughts on the situation.
“My teammates and I are just grateful to be playing,” said junior Kayla Kirtley. “Amidst the pandemic, we have found a way to play almost every game we have scheduled and continue to practice.”
With just two games left in the regular season, it is more important than ever that the team steers clear of any outbreaks.
“These players are doing their best on and off the court to stay COVID free,” said Martinez. “We have been blessed thus far not to have to shut down as a team because someone got COVID. Praying that we finish the season healthy.”
The next game for the Lady Trojans will be this Saturday at Indiana Wesleyan University — the last away game of the regular season. In their previous matchup, Taylor came out on top with a score of 80–69. Coach Martinez will be looking for a repeat performance in Marion.
The Trojans will be closing out the regular season at home against Saint Francis on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 1 p.m. Be sure to fill Odle with no more than 300 rowdy, guideline-following students.
While finishing the regular season strong is top priority, the goals of this team go far beyond simply having a good regular season.
“Our main goal is to keep playing to the high standards we have set for our program,” Kirtley said. “We want to return to the Crossroads League tournament and compete in the championship game again. In addition, we hope that we will receive a bid to the NAIA National tournament in March.”
If things go as planned for the Trojans, there may be some postseason basketball coming to Odle Arena later this month. Be on the lookout for future announcements regarding Crossroads tournament games.