It took several seconds for Asia Taylor to respond to a question concerning her desire to play basketball professionally next season in the WNBA or overseas. One sensed that she wanted to put down the cellphone, place an index finger into each ear and sing "la la la la la" to keep from hearing another question about her long-range future. What she wanted to discuss was life in college at Louisville.
Asia Taylor, Louisville
It took several seconds for Asia Taylor to respond to a question concerning her desire to play basketball professionally next season in the WNBA or overseas.
One sensed that she wanted to put down the cellphone, place an index finger into each ear and sing “la la la la la” to keep from hearing another question about her long-range future.
What she wanted to discuss was life in college at Louisville.
“I can’t think about pro ball now because I’m having so much fun with my college teammates,” she said. “I’m thinking only about trying to get to the Final Four. There is so much more to play for this season.”
Taylor, a 6-foot-1 fifth-year senior forward from Whetstone, is in love with life these days with the fourth-ranked Cardinals (22-1, 10-0), who are tied for first place in the American Athletic Conference with No. 1 Connecticut.
For the first time since the middle of her senior year in high school, Taylor is healthy. And the numbers prove it: She is averaging 10.1 points and 6.4 rebounds, has 34 steals and 12 blocked shots and is shooting 53.3 percent from the field and 78.5 percent from the free-throw line.
Basketball hasn’t always been this much fun for her. It had been downright painful.
As a senior at Whetstone, she was in the running for the Ohio Ms. Basketball award until suffering a broken fibula and tibia in her right leg during the regular season.
“I was playing against Mifflin when a girl shoved me out of bounds,” Taylor said. “I tried to catch myself, but I slammed down on my ankle. It looked so bad, I didn’t know if I could play again. The doctor at Ohio State said it was the worst he had seen. I should have sat out my freshman year in college. I wasn’t myself. I was timid and scared.”
But Taylor played in all 31 games and started 10 as a freshman for the Cardinals. She averaged 4.3 points and 2.6 rebounds.
As a junior in 2011-12, Taylor played despite having a torn labrum in a hip. She started 20 of 32 games and averaged 5.6 points and 4.8 rebounds.
“I was in a lot of pain, but I kept playing through it and kept playing through it right through the NCAA tournament,” she said. “I knew I needed surgery, but I was not coming out of that lineup. I wanted to be there for my team. I was out six or seven months after the debris was cleared out."
Taylor admits she hasn’t been the same player since high school, but she has learned how to succeed without being able to jump higher and run faster than everyone on the court.
“After the ankle (injury), I didn’t even think I could give it a shot,” she said. “I was in so much pain. But I persevered. I’m not the same player. I don’t have the flexibility. But I’m smarter and I’m tougher. I’ve got a good game.”Others to watch
Boo Osborne, Ashland: The 6-3 freshman guard from Centennial is averaging 7.7 points, starting 13 of 17 games.
Marley Hill, Cincinnati: The 6-2 freshman forward from Africentric is averaging 3.8 points in 21 games.
Tyler Stern-Tucker, Findlay: The 6-7 freshman forward from Worthington Kilbourne is averaging 5.9 minutes and has played in 14 games.