For Asia Taylor, the journey to the WNBA could almost be put to the music of the Beatles. How about "The Long and Winding Road"? It's been an on-again, off again affair for her since she graduated from Louisville in 2014. She was the last pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft and went to the most powerful team in the league...the Minnesota Lynx. After that season, EuroBall in Italy with CUS Cagliari.. In 2015, she didn't make the cut for the Lynx...another trip across the Atlantic for the Columbus, OH native in Israel with Elitzur Holon and ASA Jerusalem. A season-ending stint with the Connecticut Sun in 2016 and big success in Australia with the Sydney Flames after that. An impressive travel log for a gal from Whetstone High School.
Mike Thibault, head coach of the Washington Mystics, liked what he saw in the 6'2" forward/guard. So did the Mystics ownership and management group....including Sheila Johnson, the general manager. They had made a few changes on the roster for 2017, including bringing in Elena Della Donne and Kristi Tolliver, and saw Taylor as someone who could bring energy, experience and skills to the squad as a backup. She was offered a free agent contract, came to camp and wears #31 for the current Eastern Conference leaders.
Her primary role so far this season, after an impressive preseason where she led the Mystics in scoring in one exhibition game, has been to spell Elena Della Donne. In the Mystics 101-89 win last night at Dallas, she saw 4:19 minutes of court time...starting the second quarter and taking the court for the final minute. As the clock ran out and the her team had secured their fifth straight win, she stood by half court, calmly dribbling the ball...the Wings had given up the fight.
There are new faces in Washington. Besides Della Donne and Tolliver, 6'5" center Krystal Thomas is in town. They also drafted former Maryland great Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and ODU star Jennie Simms.
There is a lot to like on this roster. Della Donne can pretty much do it all. Tolliver and Ivory Latta can light it up from the deep. Tayler Hill, who shoots so horribly bad but can be called' automatic' from the free throw stripe. The guts and hustle of Tianna Hawkins and Tiarra Ruffi-Pratt.
Asia knows her role. Asia knows that, upon completion of the season, she'll be welcomed back to the the Sydney Flames, who she led to a title in the WNBL. They love her in Sydney and check out the link to the clip below where A-Tayy breaks a few opponent ankles and does some acrobatics.
ASIA TAYLOR - SYDNEY FLAMES
Players such as Taylor are important to any WNBA roster. Knowing you have someone on the bench that give give you the quality minutes when your star needs a rest or fouls occur. Taylor can play several positions as well, something very important in a long season where injuries can occur. Someone who injects the energy and fits the team chemistry. The Mystics have that chemistry. Ask Della Donne...who loves her new location and teammates. Who says, "I never knew playing basketball could be this fun".
Asia's money with the Mystics probably isn't close to what it is with the Flames...but it's the chance, once again, to fulfill the dream that every 12 year old girl has when they're dribbling in the driveway and playing one-on-one against dad, mom, big sis or little brothers. Getting to The Show. Playing along side or against Parker, Della Donne, Griner, Fowles, McCoughtry or Ogwumike.
Maybe it's time for the WNBA to start putting up a little more cash on the table.
Maybe it's time to expand again and get teams in basketball hotbeds like...did anyone say Louisville? Charleston, SC? Des Moines, IA? Knoxville? Places where they're are women's basketball fans. To see the half-empty bleachers last night in the Texas-Arlington gym was distressing. They announced the crowd at 2805. I do hope that many were actually there...but I doubt it. Do you think we could double or triple that number with a Louisville WNBA squad in the Yum! Center...or even Freedom Hall?
Asia Taylor has traveled that long and winding road. A road that has had potholes of injuries, surgeries, rehab, watching and waiting. A road many would have turned back from travelling on. Still traveling. Still dreaming. Still producing and still wearing that smile that can light up a room.
Continue to play, A-Tayy. Never back down, never give up the fight.
|Eric also likes to lead the bench in hand drills...|
I don't think I've ever seen a crowd turn on referees as badly, though, as they did on Eric and his crew last year in the KFC YUM! Center. during the UofL vs. UK game...and I've seen a lot of refereeing over the years. You would have thought Neil Diamond had forgotten the words halfway thru Sweet Caroline or that Roseanne Barr was singing the National Anthem...judging by the booing.
Hang in there, EB. At least you get to do a lot of travelling during the year. Even if you're way too reluctant to call it on the court...
THE PAULIES VOTING BEGINS
|THE PAULIE AWARD|
1) THE QUICKS. Hannah Koloski, Jazmine Jones, Jordan McNary, Brooklyn Rivers
2) GIMME THE BALL. Maryssa Becker, Asia Durr, Melanie McHenry, Minout Mink
3) DON'T GET COMFORTABLE SITTING DOWN. Inger Katrine Bjerke, Myisha Hines-Allen, Ayeshia McFerran, Molly Sauer, Brittany Read
4) SHE'LL GET THE CROWD BUZZING. Jasmine Bennett, Mallory Comerford, Emmonnie Henderson, Jessica Laemmle, Sydney Zambrotta
5) MAKE SURE THE RECORDER IS ON. Sandy Pearsall, Justine Sowry, Jeff Walz, Kellie Young.
You can vote on the Right Hand Side of the Site, you can vote in the comments section. Feel free to send your vote to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or text it to me at 5022913651. Call me there to place it and discuss it if you wish.
Voting is open until 5/21/17. Your vote goes a long way in determining who gets the banana trophy in each category.
The PAULIES...not your average awards from your far from average website...