Rarely do matters out of hand end up so sweet.
For UCSB women’s basketball star Lindsay Taylor, the move to the WNBA could not have resulted in a more ideal situation.
On Saturday, the WNBA’s Houston Comets chose the senior center as the 26th selection overall before her rights were traded to the Phoenix Mercury for the 27th pick.
“I was fortunate to get drafted, but I was even more excited when I learned I was going to Phoenix,” Taylor said
Taylor’s enthusiasm could very well come from the location of the franchise, as she is from Chandler, Ariz., located a mere 15 minutes outside of Phoenix.
The Mercury had the WNBA’s worst record last summer but in doing so earned this year’s first overall selection, which it used to pick up Connecticut superstar and three-time NCAA champion guard Diana Taurasi, who will join Taylor on the team should she earn a spot in the upcoming weeks.
UCSB knows Taurasi all too well. In this year’s NCAA Sweet Sixteen matchup, the Gauchos fell to UConn due in part to a superb performance from Taurasi. Taylor had played against Taurasi in high school and summer camps prior to entering the NCAA and has expressed some excitement about having such a refined floor general on her new team.
The “ideal fit” of the Mercury’s roster does not stop with Taurasi. Former UCSB great Kayte Christensen, drafted in 2002, starts as forward for Phoenix.
“I’ve talked about [the WNBA] before with her,” Taylor said. “It will be nice to have a familiar face around.”
Former teammate Christensen is confident about Taylor’s prospects.
“She’s a project – has to get stronger and be more physical – but in the end, I think everything will go great for her,” Christensen said.
The 6’8″ Taylor finished her collegiate career as UCSB women’s hoops all-time leader in points – racking up 1,767 – as well as in blocked shots, with 243. She also holds the Gaucho record in field goal percentage at 55.8 percent and finished third all-time in rebounds with 877.
Taylor has been extensively honored for her achievements. As a junior she was selected as the 2002-03 Big West Conference Player of the Year and Honorable Mention All-American. This past year she was selected as one of 30 John R. Wooden Award finalists. Taylor was also a member of Team USA this past summer, helping the team place second in the Pan American Games.
Taylor is heading to the WNBA having led this year’s team to a 27-7 mark, another Big West Conference title and helping the Gauchos advance to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the first time in Santa Barbara history. The center was named to the Big West All-Conference Team once again this year.
Although she departs this week to preseason camp, Taylor will not be completely saying goodbye to UCSB. She will play this summer in the WNBA and come back next fall to finish off her degree in Religious Studies.
“What has helped is that teammates have gone on to the WNBA,” Taylor said. “I think playing here has definitely made me ready.”
Taylor is looking to continue her collegiate success at the professional level and could make her WNBA debut as early as May 20.