Not that the Carlsbad, New Mexico, product hasn’t flashed her long-range shooting skills before. She’s been one of the most accurate 3-point shooters on the team the last three seasons. Edmondson just didn’t take a lot of them, last year hoisting 74 shots from downtown, while Lia Galdeira and Tia Presley combined to shoot 359 of them. With Galdeira and Presley off to play pro ball overseas, Edmondson told CF.C in a recent wide-ranging interview that she’s ready for a greater load beyond the arc but also wants to step up her work as a playmaker to create shots for teammates. Talkative and friendly, here’s what the Pride of the Pecos had to say about the Cougars’ 2015-16 quest to build on last season’s 17-15 record: 1. Cougfan: The biggest surprise in Cougar women's basketball this offseason was Lia Galdeira's announcement that she was skipping her senior season to turn pro. Did you have a clue this was coming? What was your first reaction to the news? Taylor Edmondson: I was a little surprised. I mean, I was surprised. I’ve been playing three years with her and she’s become my best friend off and on the court. So (my first reaction) was thinking about how we’re going to put everything together and become a different team this year.
2. Cougfan: With Lia's departure and Tia Presley's graduation, the team loses not just a lot of scoring but a lot of leadership. How is that void going to be filled and what role do you see yourself playing in that process?
TE: We have four seniors this year (Mariah Cooks, Dawnyelle Awa and Alexas Williamson are the others), and each of us have a lot of playing experience. We know what to expect from every team and I think we can all consider ourselves leaders and as long as we bring everybody else (together) then I think we’ll be set. And if everybody continues to believe that we can be the leaders that we want to be then I think we’ll have a great year.
3. Cougfan: How would you describe your leadership style?
TE: I would say I'm more of a humorous leader. I'm the one that makes the jokes but I also know the times to be serious.
4. Cougfan: Has Lia's departure affected the team's goal for the year, and what has Coach Daugherty said about expectations?
TE: No. It hasn’t affected any of our goals. We still have the same goals. We still want to be at the top of the Pac. We still want to win the Pac-12 championship and make it to NCAA, and June still has the same goals for us. She believes in us the same amount if not more. She knows what we’re capable of.
5. Cougfan: You've had an excellent shooting percentage from 3-point range in your career -- much better than Lia and Tia -- but you haven't taken a ton of threes. How come and do you see yourself taking more this year?
TE: Yeah. This year I feel like my job is going to try to be more aggressive and find my open shots but also find shots for my teammates and be a really good playmaker. But when the time comes to it I think I’m going to maybe need to take more shots and be more aggressive … I’m just really confident in my shooting abilities … I look for the open shots, and if they’re there, I take them.
6. Cougfan: You missed the last four games last season with a concussion. How frustrating was it not to play in those key games and are you fully recovered now?
TE: It was super frustrating especially because when we went to the NIT tournament if we would have won that first game I would have been able to play in the next game … It sucks sitting there … there was this crunch time when they needed to make a 3-pointer and I was just sitting on the bench. I’m fully recovered now …”
7. Cougfan: If you had to pick just one, which of your teammates do you think everyone will be talking about this season and why?
TE: I’m going to go with Dawn(yelle), the point guard. I feel like she’s the unsung hero of the team, and a lot of what she does goes unnoticed. She’s the one who brings the ball up the court and gets the plays started and if she couldn’t do that for us then we couldn’t really get the offense going. And defensively, too. She has to stop the ball. Our defense kind of revolves around our point guard and she pushes the point guard on the opposite team, so I would go with her. I feel like she’s going to be a big part of this year’s season.
8. Cougfan: In high school, you starred in three sports and lettered in a total of four. That's pretty rare in this era when kids are pushed to specialize. How did you pull it off?
TE: My whole life I’ve kind of just been playing sports. I really liked all the sports I played so I think that’s what it was. And it helped that I was kind of good at them. Volleyball was probably my second-favorite after basketball so I continued to play that throughout high school. It was kind of hard, but all the seasons didn’t run into each other … It kept my mind off of anything that was going on outside of school or sports so that was nice.
9. Cougfan: What are your plans after you graduate?
TE: After I graduate I hopefully want to go play overseas somewhere. That’s my plan right now, and if that doesn’t work out I’ll try to find a job.
10. Cougfan: What is one aspect of your game that you think you’ve improved the most upon while you’ve been in college?
TE: I would say the work I put into school. In high school, you’re playing high school sports and trying to manage school too, and it’s not as hard. Now you have to add traveling into it, practices, workouts. You have to put all that together and I’d say that I’ve definitely become more dedicated and focused on school.
11. Cougfan: Is there anything you would like to add that we haven't covered?>
TE: Nope, I’m just very excited and ready to play!
60 SECONDS WITH TIA PRESLEY ON TAYLOR EDMONDSON & MARIAH COOKS:
Taylor Edmondson ready to rain for WSU women
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