Basketball season is fast approaching here at Taylor University.
The women’s team finished last season with a record of 15-13 (8-6 in Crossroads League). Last season was a bit of a heart-breaker for coach Jody Martinez.
“Right when we started getting in the groove of things, we were hit with COVID-19 twice and never really recovered,” Martinez said.
There were two outstanding players from last year’s squad that made a sizable leap in points per game (PPG), and rebounds per game (RPG). Those players were junior guard Claycee West and junior forward Taylor Westgate.
Westgate went from averaging 8.6 PPG in the ‘21 season to averaging 13.7 PPG last season. Westgate also made a leap in RPG. She went from averaging just under 7 RPG in the ‘21 season to 11.8 RPG last season.
West also made improvements in her game from the ’21 season. She averaged just 2.7 PPG in her sophomore season but made a large jump in scoring last season, where she averaged 10.7 PPG.
“I would say that Coach’s confidence in me and him trusting me with more minutes,” West said when asked what led to her success on court. “I would also say my experience level.”
What Taylor lacked last season was size. They were one of the smallest teams in the Crossroads League, but Martinez addressed that this past year with recruiting. Freshman forwards Quinn Kelly, Ainsley West, and Kacey Ott add some much needed height to a small Trojan lineup.
“Kacey Ott and Quinn Kelly are showing the potential to play meaningful minutes right away,” Martinez said.
The projected starting five for the Trojans this year are senior guard Ariel Dale at point guard, junior guard Claycee West at the shooting guard position, junior Ava Henson at small forward, junior forward Taylor Westgate at power forward, and senior Gretchen Moll will be playing the center position for the Trojans this season.
“I believe that if we stay healthy, we are one of the more athletic teams in our conference,” Martinez said when asked what Taylor’s strength will be heading into this season.
The Trojans’ schedule is not an easy one this year playing No.4 ranked Marian University and No.12 ranked Indiana Wesleyan University in back to back games. Taylor University was also invited to play in the Lawrence Tech Classic where they will play Siena Heights University and Lawrence Technological University on a neutral court on Nov. 4 and 5. They were also invited to the Webber International Classic where they will be playing Webber International University and Keiser University on Dec. 30 and 31 on a neutral court.
The Trojans’ season opener is Oct. 27 at Madonna University. Their first home game won’t be played until Nov. 8 when they take on Midway University.