Taylor McLaughlin adds big success to women’s basketball team
Philip Zoppi – Sports Writer
Southern women’s basketball team has had a lot of success this season due in big part to their junior forward, Taylor McLaughlin.
McLaughlin is averaging 9.9 points per game, which is good for third on the team in scoring, but has only started five of their 23 games.
The production has paid off as McLaughlin has recently found her way into the starting lineup. This is something McLaughlin is happy about, but understands the new role comes with new responsibilities.
“Coach would always say it’s not about who starts the game but who finishes, and as sixth man I always kept that in my head,” said McLaughlin. “Now as a starter, I have a little bit more of a responsibility to try and start the game along with everyone else, and not get off to a slow start.”
This is McLaughlin’s first real opportunity to start during her career at Southern as she only got to start three games in her sophomore season.
As the season has progressed McLaughlin’s coach, Kate Lynch, has realized that she needed to find a spot for McLaughlin in the starting lineup.
“Taylor was our sixth man but she is starting now and she has earned that role,” said Lynch. “She really knows the game and makes us tougher on the floor. We’ve found it a little bit better for her to be starting for us instead of coming off the bench as a sixth man.”
McLaughlin has been scoring quite a bit her junior year, but what she does on the defensive side of the ball is just as important. Having a two-way player like that is one of the many reasons she has been inserted into the starting lineup.
Defense is a part of McLaughlin’s game that she has worked on throughout her career at Southern and feels like it’s better than it has ever been.
“I think this year is when I really got good at defense,” said McLaughlin. “It’s almost become fun for me. When I can do well defensively I feel like that can translate to the other side of the court as well.”
Lynch has taken notice with how well McLaughlin has progressed with her defensive skills and believes that a multitude of factors go into why she is playing such good defense.
“She’s just a really smart basketball player,” said Lynch. “She knows where players are going to be and anticipates what other players are going to do really well. She just has a great knack for coming up with steals, which really helps us out because she gets a bunch of steals and converts them on the other end for us.”
What McLaughlin does on the court greatly helps the team, but something that both Lynch and McLaughlin pointed to that was even more important than on-court production, is her leadership role.
Lynch was very appreciative and grateful for the kind of leadership McLaughlin is able to bring to her team. Even though McLaughlin is just a junior, and there are five seniors on the team, she still makes it a point to display leadership qualities. Something Lynch has noted in McLaughlin’s performances.
“Taylor is, and has always been one of our leaders on and off the court,” said Lynch. “She has just been instrumental for us with her leadership all year.”
McLaughlin will try to finish off her best season as an Owl, as the team eyes the Northeast-10 playoffs. With the first round set to commence on Feb. 26.
Photo Credit: SCSU Athletic Communications