Sydney Taylor reaches millennium mark in career points against UMass Lowell

Taylor scored 25 points and had four triples on the historic night

Maya+Geer+%2F+Daily+Collegian+%282021%29

Maya Geer / Daily Collegian (2021)

By Michael Araujo , Collegian Staff

Sydney Taylor became the 23rd player to score 1000 points for the Massachusetts women’s basketball team during Tuesday’s 71-53 win over UMass Lowell.

Coming off a 23-point performance against Harvard on Friday, Taylor was just six points away from the mark. With just over a minute gone since tip-off, Taylor knocked down her first 3-pointer of the game and put UMass (4-1) on the board.

Living up to her nickname, “Swish” eclipsed the millennium mark in fitting fashion: drilling a catch-and-shoot jump shot from beyond the arc.

With the game being played on the road, there was no hometown love or standing ovation for Taylor. Following the sound of the final buzzer, Taylor’s teammates poured out from the bench to shower her with love and cheers. Before heading to the locker room, Taylor shared a moment with two of her biggest fans: her mother and sister.

Michael Araujo / Daily Collegian (2022)

“It means so much,” Taylor said of the love from her supporting cast. “In high school, some of my teammates were a little jealous and I didn’t get the same love. To have that now, it feels so much better. And to have my mom and my sister there.”

Taylor is without a doubt one-of-one. When it’s all said and done, she will be cemented as one of the greatest players in the history of UMass basketball. In the sight of all her accomplishments, it’s important to keep in mind that not a single ounce of her respect and her success was given. All of it was earned.

From barely seeing game action her freshman year, to fighting for minutes her sophomore year, to Atlantic 10 champion her junior year and now First Team All A-10 in her senior year, Taylor took leaps and bounds every season she’s donned the maroon and white.

“[Taylor’s] effort, her want to, her dedication and her investment has put her in the position that she’s in today,” head coach Tory Verdi said. “I always say, ‘your best players are not your best players if they’re not your hardest workers. On a consistent basis, [Taylor] and Sam [Breen] are our hardest workers each and every single day in practice.”

While the Minutewomen’s win was not the prettiest, Taylor had an outstanding game. She finished with 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field and four 3-pointers. Taylor also added five rebounds and an assist. Almost as if to prove she was human, she committed her only turnover of the game after she lost control of the ball on a drive to the hoop.

Taylor was extremely vocal on defense and was often the loudest one in the gym. During one sequence in the second quarter, Taylor’s voice could be heard bouncing off the gymnasium walls as she talked the Minutewomen through a defensive possession. After getting the stop, she orchestrated the offense, cradling the ball in one arm as she directed her teammates’ flow of traffic.

“I’m sure you heard her up on the floor today, talking, helping out, helping her teammates,” Verdi said. “If we screw something up defensively, she will literally shove someone over to where they need to be. That’s leadership… I tell her and I tell our team, ‘who are you when no one’s looking?’ And that’s when Sydney Taylor’s in the gym working on her craft.”

Through the good and bad times, Taylor’s hope has helped her persevere. One of Taylor’s favorite quotes, ‘The struggles along the way are only meant to shape your purpose,’ perfectly describes her journey at UMass.

“Not letting [struggles] get to you,” Taylor said. “Even if I am struggling in the game, just going and getting back in the gym, getting shots up, stuff like that. Off the court, not letting things affect me. When I am on the court, there is personal stuff outside, because everyone goes through struggles, and it does shape you depending on how you handle it and how you take care of your issues.”

Michael Araujo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @araujo_michael_