Missouri's junior CF Rhea Taylor has recently established career school records for stolen bases and runs scored. She's moving up on the career hits list, too. Her .462 overall batting average this season leads the Big 12, as does her 61 hits and 31 stolen bases. She's second in the Big 12 in runs scored (48).
"She's our catalyst," said Coach Earleywine of Rhea Taylor. "She sets the tone for our offense. She's an All-American caliber player. And, arguably the best lead-off hitter in softball."
Taylor was recently named one of 25 finalists for the 2010 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, as announced by the American Softball Association (ASA) of America.
As the #10 Tigers head into the final weekends of the regular season and on to the Big 12 Tournament, Taylor talked about her goals for the remainder of the season.
"Just to finish up strong," said Taylor. "That's all, really. Just play Tiger softball basically, and make sure that we execute."
As for her expectations of her own individual performance, Taylor said, "I know I can be better.............. I don't feel that I have gotten to the top, yet."
Taylor cited cutting down on her strikeouts, improving her fielding, and improving her bunting as parts of her game that she wants to improve upon.
As one of the team leaders, Taylor is viewed as "amazing" by many of her teammates. She described her leadership style.
"I'm not one to get in your face and yell at you or anything," said Taylor. "I definitely lighten the mood. I'm more of a leader playing on the field than anything. You know, I like to joke around a lot."
"I like helping (the younger players) out," continued Taylor. "Any chance I get, even if it's not with softball. I like helping (them) out."