University of Mary Hardin-Baylor forward Taylor Tucker received a text message from Cru head coach Lisa Curliss-Taylor earlier this week. And the news capped a remarkable seven-day period in her collegiate career.
Tucker posted consecutive double-doubles to help the Cru get a pair of wins en route to earning American Southwest Conference Player of the Week honors.
“I was actually pretty surprised,” Tucker said. “I wasn’t expecting it, but I guess with any player it’s always an honor to have. You kind of feel accomplished at that point.”
UMHB (9-6, 9-3 ASC) has won seven straight games and has taken home the ASC Player of the Week award for three straight weeks after Macy Moore and Alyssa Dean won those honors the previous two weeks.
For Tucker, the most important thing is how the team has come together in recent weeks. UMHB’s win streak dates back to Dec. 21 and has helped the Cru stay within two games behind conference leader UT-Tyler (13-2, 11-1).
“I think we’re just playing great as a team right now,” Tucker said. “We all have a main goal and that is to keep winning. Before we step out onto the floor, we tell each other to play as a team, play together and do what it takes to get the job done.”
Tucker, a junior, broke the school’s NCAA Division III double-double record last week.
She scored 16 points and had 14 rebounds in a win over UT-Dallas (12-2, 9-2) and followed that up with 21 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Hardin-Simmons (5-9, 5-6). Tucker also blocked five shots in those two games.
Tucker has added a needed presence in the paint for the Cru averaging 17 points and nine rebounds in her second season in Belton.
Curliss-Taylor said that Tucker’s 5-foot-10 frame makes for a good fit with the Cru’s recruiting philosophy of getting mobile, athletic posts who can shoot from outside and get to the rim.
“I’d like to keep her for three or four more years if that was possible,” Curliss-Taylor joked. “Seeing how much more she improved this year from last year, we just have high expectations for the future as well.”
Tucker was an all-state and all-region basketball player at A&M Consolidated. She came to Belton after playing for Kilgore College as a freshman to play with her sister Tori, a sophomore guard.
Although the sibling relationship was important to Tucker, the opportunity to play at UMHB and the campus sealed the decision to join the Cru.
“I loved the campus, the people on campus, the coaching staff and my teammates so I felt it was a great move,” Tucker said. “But having my sister there was is always a plus. That had something to do with the process, but everything else about the school kind of sealed the deal.”
Tucker is currently the team’s leading scorer with 17.7 points per game, 9.0 rebounds per game and has a total of 13 blocks.
UMHB goes for its eighth straight win tonight when it visits Howard Payne University (9-6, 8-4). The game starts at 5:30 p.m.