ROSEMONT, Ill. – Theairra Taylor is a senior guard at Iowa. That, in itself, is a story.
A comeback story. Make that comebacks. Like three ACL tears in 20 months. A story of persistence and triumph.
“How can you not love a kid who doesn’t have to be here?” Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder said during Big Ten media day Thursday.
That’s what Bluder told Taylor after that third knee injury, which occurred in the 2010-11 season.
“You don’t have to do this anymore,” Bluder told Taylor. “You’re going to get a scholarship. You’re going to school for free. But she never hesitated. She wanted to be a part of the team. She had a love of the game.”
Taylor, a guard, returns for her final season after starting all 34 games in 2012-13. She missed a total of 53 games with those injuries between 2009 and 2011.
“I love it,” Taylor said. “I don’t know what I would do without it. I could be a normal student, get up and go to class. But I don’t know what I’d do with my free time.”
Taylor is one of three returning starters – Bethany Doolittle and Samantha Logic are the other two – from a team that went 21-13 and made it to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth straight season. Gone are center Morgan Johnson and guard Jamie Printy, both double figure scorers . But Bluder is excited about this team.
“We lost a lot,” Bluder said. “That’s a lot of leadership to lose. But for some reason this team seems closer, and more intense coming to practice. They really want to win for each other.”
Nebraska, coached by former Ankeny High School star Connie Yori, is the preseason favorite to win the title.
“She’s a great coach,” Bluder said. “The thing I admire about Connie is she just does things right. She doesn’t shy away from anything.”
Iowa’s hopes start with Logic, named to the media’s preseason all-Big Ten team on Thursday. But Taylor, a LeBron James fan and basketball junkie, is easy to root for. If there’s a basketball game on TV, she’l l watch it. NBA, WNBA, college, it doesn’t matter. She’d love to make the game her profession.
“I’d like to be a recruiting coordinator in college,”Taylor said. “I like to analyze talent. I could see myself sitting in a high school game, or at an AAU game, just watching.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball