May 15, 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Asia Taylor helped the University of Louisville women's basketball team to its most successful run over the last four years and now is embarking on the next stage of her career this week with the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx.
The Columbus, Ohio, native, who made the Lynx's 12-player roster, became just the seventh player to be taken with the last pick in the WNBA Draft and make an opening day roster. Since 2000, only three other players who were the last picks were signed prior to the start of the season.
"I've been through a lot of ups and downs with injuries, but my coaches were by my side and always believed in me," Taylor said. "Louisville taught me that when things seemed impossible and even when I was overlooked in recruiting, diligent hard work will eventually pay off.
"My coaches at Louisville gave me the opportunity to play both inside and out, and developed my talents to be as versatile as possible. I was able to take advantage of mismatches and they put me in situations that focused on my strengths. I am grateful for the opportunity to play in a system that didn't pigeon hole me into one position as it prepared me for this moment."
Taylor and the Lynx play in the WNBA's first game in 2014 on Friday, taking on the Washington Mystics at 7 p.m. ET. The team then plays its first home game on Sunday against the Connecticut Sun at 5 p.m. ET on Fox Sports North Plus.
Playing in both of the Lynx's preseason games, Taylor averaged 12 points and two assists. Against the Chicago Sky, she logged 25 minutes and totaled a game-high 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field and the charity stripe. She also had three steals, two assists, and two rebounds. Taylor made her preseason debut against the Phoenix Mercury on May 9 and had six points, two assists, and one rebound.
Taylor, who was named to the 2014 all-AAC first team, earned the league's most improved player award. She started all 38 games for the Cardinals, ranking first in rebounding (7.2) and second in scoring (10.8). Taylor tied for the team lead with 23 blocks and had 53 steals.
In addition to Taylor, former Louisville teammate Shoni Schimmel claimed a spot on the Atlanta Dream's roster. Both Schimmel and Louisville All-American Angel McCoughtry make their season debuts on Friday as well. The duo, which plays for the Atlanta Dream, squares off against the San Antonio Silver Stars at 7:30 p.m. on Fox Sports South.
Schimmel, drafted eighth overall this year, led the Cardinals in scoring (17.1) and assists (3.8). With 663 points in 2013-14, she became the second player - McCoughtry was the first - in school history to reach 2,000 career points. In April, she was named an Associated Press second team All-American.
She finished her career ranked second on Louisville's all-time scoring list with 2,174 points. Her 387 made 3-pointers were just five shy of the all-time Division I mark. Schimmel holds the school record for career 3-pointers and also set the school's single-season record, knocking down 118 treys in her senior season. She also has dished out 600 assists and pulled down 552 rebounds.