TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Ashley Taia says,"This season feels like the best season we've had. Personally for me anyway. Good team, good coaching staff. A family environment that I'm happy to be a part of my senior year for sure."
It's been quite a journey for Ashley Taia moving from Australia to Terre Haute to play basketball.
Taia says,"I think everything has changed about be since being in Indiana. This is my third year here. I've definitely grown up a lot, living on my own and stuff like that, but basketball wise, it's been a challenging few years. We haven't been winning a lot. I've stayed persistent with it, just working hard and do what I can to bring the program up and get some wins under our belt."
Those wins are starting to come as of late with the Sycamores winning five straight conference games for the first time in four years.
"Coach Keister always tells us to have fun with it. Smile. Put some emotion into the game. That's what we've been doing for sure," says Taia.
Josh Keister says,"Ashley just has a calm presence to her. She brings that to our team. On the floor, she is experienced and has played a lot of basketball in her life. She's a kid that can impact the game without having to score a lot of points. Just brings an all around game to our team. In my opinion, she's one of the 10 best players in the league and it's nice to have her out there."
Things turned serious for her this winter, as she took a break from basketball to be with her dad before he lost his battle with cancer.
Taia says,"Definitely puts things into perspective. I missed six games. That was difficult. I didn't want to be away from the team, but I was happy to go home and be with my family. Something we kinda expected was going to happen so I was able to prepare for that.."
"I think it's given me something I want to play for even more now."
Taia and the Sycamores look to finish strong as the wrap up the season and head into the conference tournament.
"I think we are just playing with a different energy. We are confident and we believe in each other and trust in each other finally. We go out to games and we don't think we are going to get beaten. We are kinda the underdog. We have that attitude and chip on our shoulder. We know that now and are playing with that chip on our shoulder."