By Will LeBlond
Taylor Day has a tough time seeing a world without basketball.
The 2017 Ithaca High School graduate didn’t have to take her talents too far from her hometown to continue on with her playing career, as she is now starring with Tompkins Cortland Community College.
Day has played in all 10 of the Panthers’ games so far during the 2017-18 season and she has made her presence felt. She is second on the team in scoring with 13.9 points per game, right behind team leader and Ovid native MacKenzie Kenyon. Day has also chipped in 4.8 rebounds per game and averages two assists per game, which may be her most impressive stat of all.
While all players at the college level have to adjust from high school level competition, Day has had to learn on the fly at TC3 with a few different obstacles, but she’s been thriving.
“My skills have definitely improved,” said Day. “At Ithaca, I was a shooting guard and when I came to college, everything changed completely. I can play every position and coach (David Stevenson) has helped me a lot. He pushes me a lot to get better.”
Day’s adjustment has included learning to play point guard for the Panthers.
“It’s tough because you have to look up at the whole court and there’s a lot of body movement through the court,” said Day on running point. “It’s just different because there’s a lot more dribbling and you have to set up plays.”
The first time she was forced into action in that role came in the preseason when the Panthers scrimmaged the men’s soccer team at the school. Ever since then, she has fit into that role behind main point guard and fellow Little Red graduate Tatiana Minnick.
“I follow after her,” said Day on her former Ithaca teammate. “I look up to her as a point guard, so I just kind of take that role and do the best I can.”
Having a familiar face has helped Day, but the location in Dryden has also been beneficial for her. She is a commuter student, who makes a 20 or so minute drive to campus every day.
Basketball is one of Day’s biggest passions, so the school and opportunity to play with the Panthers turned into a good fit.
“It’s really nice,” said Day. “I get to come home and be with my dog and family, which is nice. It’s great to spend that time with them.”
Basketball conversations take place when she gets home as well, as all of her family played basketball at one level or another, including her father, who also played college hoops. With that kind of group around her, she was destined to play at the next level.
“I’ve always wanted to,” said Day on playing college basketball. “After fifth grade and up, I traveled everywhere with AAU and then I played high school ball and I just always wanted to play in college. After fifth grade, I just fell in love with the game and I never wanted to give up.”
The Panthers have put together a 5-5 start to the season, which includes a 75-68 victory over Hudson Valley Community College to wrap up their fall semester. They’ll get back to game action on January 8 against Davis College, but they won’t play another home game in Dryden until January 20 when they will host Onondaga Community College.