The women’s basketball team is off to one of its best starts in recent history, and can be largely attributed to two transfers – junior guard Jazz Taylor and junior forward Lexie Ducat.
Taylor grew up with basketball as a massive part of her childhood. Not only did she have a passion for the game, but her family did as well.
“It was huge,” Taylor said. “My brothers and my dad both played, and they naturally just taught me, so they kind of beat me up a little bit too.”
The junior guard committed to Rice University, where she would befriend Ducat that season.
Ducat, who grew up in a small town an hour east of Abilene, had a passion for the game from the very beginning, and said she became very self-motivated from the start.
“My dad played basketball in high school, but I was the first in the family to really take interest in basketball,” Ducat said. “My very first practice I fell in love with the game.”
In her sophomore year at Rice, Ducat played and started in a majority of games for the Owls. During her sophomore year, she averaged six points per game, five rebounds and shot 54 percent from the court. After that season, Ducat transferred to ACU.
“During my sophomore year, I felt like I did everything right,” she said. “I was enjoying my teammates and the school, but it just didn’t feel right. Coach (Julie) Goodenough for ACU had recruited me back in high school, and it was closer to home. It was a tough decision and Rice was great, but it wasn’t for me. When I came to ACU, I fell back in love with the game again. After my sophomore year, I was looking at basketball from a school standpoint looking where I could finish my degree, but when I got here, school wasn’t the only thing that mattered anymore.”
With Ducat’s first season underway, she’s been successful thus far averaging 10 points per game, seven rebounds and shooting 51 percent from the court.
Taylor’s road to ACU, however, is different. During her freshman year at Rice, she tore her ACL and was redshirted for the season. After that year, she decided to transfer to Collin County Community College. During her one season there, she averaged 10 points per game and four rebounds leading her team to a NJTCAC Conference Championship.
“I just felt Rice wasn’t for me,” Taylor said. “I went back to Dallas because that’s where I’m originally from. It was awesome and I really loved it. I loved all my teammates and three of the coaches at the junior college were like dads to me. It was so different from Rice and I fell back in the love with the game.”
While Taylor was playing for Collin County, Ducat was attending her first year at ACU, where she did not play because of NCAA transfer rules, and was granted a redshirt season.
During that time, Ducat told the coaching staff about her former teammate, which started the recruiting process of Taylor to Abilene.
Now, with Ducat and Taylor at ACU, they’ll have only this season and next before graduating. They’re planning on treasuring the time they have left.
“I think the biggest thing is just enjoying it and making as many memories as I can with my teammates,” Taylor said. “I’m so close to Lexie, we’re best friends. So, having fun these last two years with her is going to be awesome.”
Ducat agreed on the two’s friendship and said she wants to make the most of her time with Taylor.
“I’ve been playing basketball since third grade so I just want to have fun, win some games and spend some quality time with Jazz.”
These two are certainly a major part behind a successful early season. They’ve done so by not just showing their athletic ability on the court, but also by building long-lasting friendships that go beyond the game of basketball.
The Wildcats are sitting at a 7-1 record, and will face Arkansas at home this weekend, something both Ducat and Taylor said they are looking forward to.
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