Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Asia Taylor trying to earn the jersey...Mulkey to leave -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
TAYLOR PROVIDING THE MINUTES ON MYSTIC ROSTER
Asia Taylor will tell you that playing in the WNBA has been one of her major dreams since she was a little girl growing up in Columbus, OH. She looked like the second coming of Angel McCoughtry in her high school career until a devastating leg injury her senior year sidelined her.
The Asia Taylor that arrived at Louisville wasn't 100%. Far from it. Other injuries basically had her playing below the capabilities she always knew she had. Jeff Walz continued to believe...knowing that the high school star he recruited and brought to campus had the potential. Finally, it came to pass. A senior season that was a bit of a redemption tour for her...after having to sit and watch her team go to the Final Four in 2013...drew enough interest to where she was selected in the third round of the WNBA draft and ended up with the Minnesota Lynx.
It was a valuable season as far as gaining experience. The playing time was limited for a rookie on a solid and veteran roster. Last year, the Connecticut Sun needed a reserve to finish out the season and Taylor answered the call.
Sydney, Australia was the next stop. A chance to be one of the big fish on a hard knocking and competitive team that played in a hard-scrabble and competitive league. Now completely healthy and still possessed with the goal to play in the WNBA again, Taylor had a huge season for the Sydney Flames and caught the eyes of Washington Mystics head coach and GM Mike Thibault and owner Sheila Johnson. They had already acquired Elena Della Donne for the roster and were looking to build a complement of players around her. Based on her play in Sydney and reputation for hard work, Taylor got the invite to be a free agent for the Mystics.
Last night the Mystics played their final exhibition game...against the powerful Minnesota Lynx. Della Donne sat out the contest...resting a minor groin strain suffered in practice. Emma Meesseman and Kristi Tolliver still haven't arrived from Europe...where they are trying to win the Russian Premier League title for their squad...so the Mystics were without three of the main players expected to lead the Mystics this year. They suffered a 74-59 loss to the visitors.
Taylor did not draw the start but came off the bench and led the reserves in minutes played (18) and points (6). In the previous exhibition, Asia led the squad in scoring (13) in a win over the Indiana Fever.
It's not hard to envision Taylor sticking with the Mystics for the season. Depending on how many they keep on the squad...one can see her as a valuable reserve at the forward spot. The Mystics are currently carrying six forwards on the roster...besides Della Donne and Taylor...Krystal Thomas, Tianna Hawkins, Ally Malott and Caira Washington are currently on the squad. Meesseman is the only listed center. One would expect the forward contingent would get trimmed to four or five...Taylor valuable in the aspect that she can also provide minutes at guard if needed.
Keeping pushing, A-Tayy. From Columbus to Louisville to Minnesota to Connecticut to Sydney to Washington sounds like a businessman's nightmare trip...but, for #31...it's a pursuit of a dream.
MULKEY LEAVING OKLAHOMA
No, this isn't about Kim Mulkey leaving Baylor. It would probably take a SWAT team or a group of Navy Seals to get her out of her entrenchment in Waco, TX.
It is about 6'9" freshman center Nancy Mulkey (no relation to Kim). She's decided that one year of being a Sooner is enough and has been granted her release from Oklahoma WBB.
A question posed to me last night about Louisville's interest in her gave me cause for thought. Height is always good. Good height, though, is better.
Mulkey, in 33 games, averaged 3.8 pts., 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. She's a work in progress and could probably use a season of intense coaching and teaching to utilize her height.
Would Louisville take the chance and do the Cards have any interest? These are questions that I do not have the answer to. A talented 6'9" post would have obvious advantages. Might even look impressive in the warm-up line and on the bench cheering. Do you use a scholarship for that, though?
The guess here is that she ends up at a mid-major or lower where she can get minutes and flourish against a group of MAAC or Missouri Valley Conference type of competition.
6'9", though. It does make one wonder...