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Kayla Taylor improves her game on Wildcat territory

Sophomore+forward+Kayla+Taylor+goal+is+looking+to+average+8.8+points+per+game+this+season.+Photo+credit%3A+Alicia+Brogden
Sophomore forward Kayla Taylor goal is looking to average 8.8 points per game this season. Photo credit: Alicia Brogden

Sophomore forward Kayla Taylor goal is looking to average 8.8 points per game this season. Photo credit: Alicia Brogden

Sophomore forward Kayla Taylor goal is looking to average 8.8 points per game this season. Photo credit: Alicia Brogden


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Transfer forward Kayla Taylor has made an immediate impact for the Chico State Wildcats in her first season as a 'Cat. Photo credit: Alicia Brogden

Scoring 28 points and sitting at third on the top scorers’ list for the Chico State women’s basketball team, transfer forward Kayla Taylor has made an immediate impact in her first year as a Wildcat.

Taylor unexpectedly met women’s basketball head coach Brian Fogel at a tournament in Oregon a few years ago where she competed on the same team as Fogel’s niece. She didn’t know much about Fogel, but with her skills and background, Fogel remembered her name and kept tabs on the prospect.

“I just knew he was the Chico State coach, but I wasn’t expecting him to keep tabs on me,” Taylor said. “It’s kind of funny how it happened.”

With four seniors who graduated in spring 2015, Taylor was one of the four recruits Fogel brought on to rebuild the Wildcat roster. Fogel saw Taylor play countless times during her career at Diablo Valley Community College before giving her the chance to play for Chico State.

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The former Concord native, Kayla Taylor, makes a layup while head coach Brian Fogel looks on. Photo credit: Alicia Brogden

“We felt like she would fill a need for us because she’s big, strong and athletic, so we decided to recruit her,” Fogel said.

Fogel has high hopes for Taylor because she’s very talented and he knows that with time, she will only get better.

But the team needs Taylor to become a skilled rebounder with a big defensive presence for the team in the post-game and someone who can be effective offensively.

“She’s doing a good job,” Fogel said. “Once she understands and learns how to play with balance and knows all of our defensive rotations, she will really blossom.”

Growing up she was a big fan of sports. Some of her favorite teams include the San Jose Sharks, Golden State Warriors, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers and San Francisco Giants. When she isn’t on the court, studying in the classroom or watching her favorite Bay Area sports teams, she enjoys playing golf in her free time.

“I kind of look up to the way [Andrew] Bogut plays in the post. Same with Draymond [Green]. Draymond is just an all around defensive, offensive fierce player,” Taylor said.”I really want to become a fierce competitor like that.”

While at Diablo Valley Community College, Taylor played both volleyball and basketball at the collegiate level. But after nine years of being a dual-sport athlete, she had to make the decision between pursuing basketball or volleyball. Conditioning for volleyball was not the same as conditioning for basketball, and trying to bounce back and forth between the two sports all year took a toll on her body.

While at Diablo Valley Community College, Taylor’s average basketball stats were:

  • 13 points per game
  • 8.8 rebounds per game
  • 53 percent field goal

Taylor hopes to carry on her stats from community college and wants to average at least 8.8 points per game. She is currently averaging seven points per game as she works to reach her goal.

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Sophomore forward Kayla Taylor goal is looking to average 8.8 points per game this season. Photo credit: Alicia Brogden

However, when Taylor was offered a basketball scholarship from Chico State, she decided to leave the volleyball court behind and focus 100 percent on her basketball career.

With her hometown of Concord nearly three hours away, Taylor chose Chico State because it is far from home yet still close enough for a weekend trip to see her family. This past summer, Taylor put in the work to be eligible to play at Chico State by taking three courses.

With the Wildcats starting their season undefeated, Taylor has made an immediate impact for Chico State. The sky is the limit for Taylor with 22 regular season games left to play before CCAA playoffs.

Taylor has received guidance from previous post players, such as junior forward Ashtyn Anderson, who is currently recovering from her second ACL injury.

Anderson is redshirting the 2015 season and has been a huge mentor for Taylor’s performance this season. Taylor sees Anderson as her “eyes off the court”— Anderson notes the areas where Taylor struggles and advises her how to become the best player she can be.

Off the court, Taylor has great leadership skills and is a team player; it’s one of the main reasons why she chose the business administration management major. She doesn’t see herself pursuing basketball beyond her college career and hopes to one day become a CEO. But in the meantime, she’s keeping an eye out for any potential internships this upcoming season when basketball season is over.

“I want to get buckets,” Taylor said.

Julie Ortega can be reached at [email protected] or @julieOrtega_ on Twitter.

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Kayla Taylor improves her game on Wildcat territory