When Dara Taylor knocked down her first shot of the game at the 17:09 mark of the first half against Michigan State, it marked the beginning of what would be a career performance.
Taylor’s 3-pointer helped to extend the No. 8 Lady Lions’ (12-2, 2-0 Big Ten) lead to five and the squad did not look back from there. They never trailed in the contest en route to a 76-55 win over the Spartans in East Lansing.
The redshirt junior guard finished the night with a career-high 18 points and shot 70 percent from the floor — three of her field goals were from beyond the arc.
She led all scorers in the game, but scored a majority of those tallies after recess. Coach Coquese Washington seemed pleased with Taylor’s performance after the game, reflecting on her ability to be more than a great passer.
“Dara’s a very capable shooter and she’s also an extremely gifted passer, so sometimes she will pass up open shots in order to try and get her teammates involved,” Washington told reporters after the game. “One of the things that we’ve encouraged her to do is to be a dual threat, shoot the ball when you’re open and if you’re not open, pass the ball.”
In 34 minutes of action –– the most by any Lion player –– Taylor also managed to record four dimes, three rebounds and three steals.
Thanks to a good shooting night against the Spartans, the Maryland transfer lowered her season field goal percentage to just under 40 percent.
She also improved to eight three-balls for the season, ranking second on the squad for number of buckets from downtown. One more 3-pointer will tie her career-high of nine, which she accomplished her freshman season as a Terrapin.
On a night when fellow junior guard Maggie Lucas didn’t have one of her best performances of the season — she netted 12 points compared to her season average of 20. 5 — it was vital for the Lions’ success that Taylor had a big game.
“I thought [last night] she did a really good job of just taking advantage of the opportunities and playing smart and making great decisions with the ball,” Washington said.