Starting the possession on the perimeter, the Philadelphia Belles guard fought her way through the paint for an important offensive rebound. Taylor collected it and scooped it in to cut her team’s deficit to seven points, the lowest it had been in quite some time.
But there were only 30 seconds left at that point, and not even Taylor’s competitive streak could bring the Belles all the way back in a loss to Colorado Premier.
Philadelphia endured two tough losses during the opening day here of the Nike Elite Youth League (EYBL) session. The Indianapolis-area session was the second of the league’s season and ran concurrently with games down Interstate 65 in Louisville, Kentucky. The Belles, as well as other teams that played double-headers Thursday, are trying to find their groove as they prepare for the Nike Nationals next week in Chicago.
For Taylor, continuing to compete is only natural. The Philadelphia rising junior found herself with teammate Kylee Watson on a 12-player roster for the USA U-16 Women’s Basketball Team trials.
But some lesser-known teammates also proved their prowess for the Belles. Danielle Cosgrove pulled in a team-high six rebounds, and guard Elly Walters combined for three steals and assists with her tenacious perimeter play.
The Belles were one of the first travel teams in the country and claim a plethora of star NCAA alumni. But the play of Cosgrove, Walters and others will have some college coaches feeling like Taylor after making Team USA for finding
Scouts from both power conferences, mid-majors watched Philadelphia’s second game, including representatives from nearby Illinois. The fieldhouse was packed with coaches and scouts for both the EYBL games as well as a USJN showcase.
Colorado continued an upward trend in the EYBL Indy division standings with the victory. They improved to 3-3 on the season after a bad loss to Midwest Elite in the 12:30 game here.
The Elite and the Iowa Attack look like the teams to beat here. But that won’t stop other teams and players from shining through to the dozens of college scouts.
There are still 24 games left to be played in Indianapolis. Not every player will advance with their team to Chicago and the EYBL Nationals, but players who embody Walters, Cosgrove and Taylor will continue to get noticed by the college coaches on the lookout for the next impact recruit.
By Mike Shaw