By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
Taylor Palmer is one of the three high-scoring leaders of the West Virginia University women’s basketball team.
The 5-foot-9 junior guard from Mount Vernon, N.Y., is averaging 11.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. But Palmer was held to five points in the Mountaineers’ 77-73 loss to Texas Tech in overtime Tuesday night.
Junior guard Christal Caldwell leads WVU in scoring with 13.1 points per game and Ayana Dunning, 6-foot-3 senior center, is averaging 9.9 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds.
Palmer led the team with 17 points in last week’s hard-fought 76-58 loss at nationally No. 1-ranked Baylor.
Head coach Mike Carey said, “Taylor has been a leader on this team this year. She’s our shooter and scorer. She does a good job in the classroom, too.
“So I’m very pleased with the way she is playing for us.”
Carey was particularly proud that Taylor was not intimidated at all going into Baylor and performed extremely well as a point-producer.
“She’s a great person,” the veteran mentor continued, “Basketball-wise, she’s a very good shooter. She works hard all the time, and does what she’s supposed to do.
“We need her to continue being productive. We have to get a lot better as a team.
“We like to have people doing what she does for this team.
“Taylor has a great attitude and a great work ethic.”
Palmer said, “I think that we definitely have come a long way since starting the season kind of slow. But I am glad Coach Carey is pushing us because I believe we can get better.
“We need to continue improving, because our goal right now is to work hard and reach the Big 12 championship game in the conference tournament.”
Palmer thinks the energy of all the players must be available for the “ups and downs” still ahead of WVU, which is 11-7 overall and 3-4 in the Big 12 standings.
She agrees with Carey that a team must win its home games and play even harder in games on the road.
Each team plays 18 conference games on a home-and-home basis.
“I feel good where we are now,” Palmer said. “But I believe we can get a lot better. I’m excited. But we’ve got to get moving toward our goal.”
Palmer has scored 10 or more points in nine games so far this season and in a total of 27 games in her career. Her season’s high was 30 points against Oklahoma on the road.
Palmer’s career highs were 34 points twice (Louisville and Texas). In all, she has played in 83 games over three seasons and started 36 of those.
Palmer’s career statistical totals include 19.4 minutes per game, 227 field goals made in 665 attempts, 69 of 96 from 3-point range, 68 of 94 free throws, 166 rebounds, and 660 points.
She also has 73 assists, 53 steals and 5 blocked shots.
Christal Caldwell said this of her teammate: “Taylor brings a lot of energy to the team. She is a very emotional player. She scores well and she’s a leader.”
A standout student at Mount Vernon High, Palmer led the Knights to a 21-4 record as a senior. She was rated the 90th best player in the nation, according to Dan Olson’s Collegiate Basketball Report.
She piled up more than 1,000 points, was a league MVP, and was named to the state finals all-tournament team.
Palmer was a member of the Mount Vernon Boys and Girls Club, which is directed by former WVU basketball star Lowes Moore.