Myah Taylor of Olive Branch and the rest of the Mississippi State Bulldogs women’s basketball team are set to wear Red, White and Blue, instead of Maroon and White, for the next few weeks.
The redshirt sophomore and three-time Mississippi Gatorade girls’ basketball Player of the Year as a Lady Quistor is part of coach Vic Schaefer’s team representing the USA at the World University Games in Naples, Italy during the month of July.
Playing as “USA Team,” MSU will play seven games against squads from other countries during the event, similar to the Olympic Games but for university-age athletes representing their nation. Competition will begin with a friendly contest on July 1 against Japan, played on a U.S. Naval Base in Italy.
From there, pool play begins in a four-team pool with the top two teams seeded into an elimination bracket for the gold medal.
In Starkville Tuesday before their departure to Italy, Taylor talked about being able to represent USA at the World University Games.
"It means a lot because USA is something that's bigger than just us,” Taylor said. “We're getting ready to represent our country and so with that comes a lot of pride and hard work. I'm really excited. I painted my nails blue because I'm so excited. I'm ready."
Taylor is in a battle with Jazzmun Holmes for the starting spot on the USA Team, but Taylor said the competition is helping make her be a better player. Holmes was a senior for the Bulldogs last year but is part of the MSU team in Italy for the next month.
"She has helped with mental toughness and just grasping the information that coach is giving us,” Taylor said. “She's helping me be a great point guard by competing every day. As a point guard, we have to show leadership, accountability and responsibility. I am still very thankful to have Jazz for an extra month, because she's making me better each and every day."
Schaefer added the tandem of Holmes and Taylor in the backcourt will help his team be a formidable foe at the World Games.
"When you have two really good point guards like we do with Holmes and Myah Taylor, you have a chance,” Schaefer said. “For us, it's been us trying to find that chemistry and try to build some type of depth chart of who is going to play and when in a short period of time.”
The Mississippi State team also played in Italy before last season in a trip that programs can take internationally once every four years ahead of their schedule of play.
WHITESIDE TO LIPSCOMB: Former Northpoint Christian School girls’ basketball player Lindsey Whiteside announced via Twitter she was transferring from Rhodes College and will continue her college basketball career at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee next season. Whiteside will be following her Rhodes coach, Lauren Sumski, who recently accepted the head coaching position at Lipscomb. As a sophomore at Rhodes last season, she was third on the Lynx in scoring with a 9.9 per-game average and tied for the team lead in assists with 81 helpers in 29 games played. She was part of two TSSAA Division II-A state championship teams at Northpoint, teams that won their titles on the same floor Whiteside will now call her home.
WILLIAMS, LOGAN AMONG ALL-VALLEY PICKS: University of Tennessee-Martin football players Peyton Logan and Terry Williams are among five Skyhawks named to the preseason CFB Network All-Ohio Valley Second Team, the school announced. They joined lineman Austin Newsom, nose tackle Austin Pickett and kicking specialist Ryan Courtright as Skyhawks being recognized.
A former Horn Lake Eagle, Logan showed his playmaking ability once again as a specialist last season, ranking 11th nationally with a kickoff return for a touchdown. Logan returned 10 kicks for 282 yards and a touchdown – including a 75-yard touchdown against Austin Peay. As a running back, Logan tallied 45 carries for 223 yards while notching nine receptions for 52 yards.
Williams, who came to UT-M from Itawamba Community College, caught 67 passes for 736 yards and three touchdowns last year. His 67 receptions ranked third in the OVC while ranking 19th nationally. Williams also returned 10 kicks for 134 yards while averaging 11.7 yards per punt return on 18 returns totaling 211 yards.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.