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ND Women’s Basketball

Reimer rises to lofty expectations

| Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Freshman forward Taya Reimer came to South Bend with high expectations. It comes with territory for McDonald’s All-American honorees, especially those who, like Reimer, earn the Morgan Wootten Player of the Year Award.

But Irish coach Muffet McGraw said it wasn’t the accolades that first convinced her that Reimer belonged at Notre Dame.

Irish freshman forward Tara Reimer shoots over a Syracuse defender during Notre Dame's 101-64 victory over Syracuse. John Ning

Irish freshman forward Tara Reimer shoots over a Syracuse defender during Notre Dame’s 101-64 victory over Syracuse.

“First was her personality; I thought was a great fit for us,” McGraw said. “I recruit a lot on first of all talent, but how are we going to fit in the system, with the team, the chemistry of the team and she is just a great teammate. She is somebody that is really talented and just wants to help the team.

“I also saw her ability to rebound and run the floor. I think she can defend on the perimeter, she can block shots, so a lot of great things she adds to our team.”

When Reimer was named a McDonald’s All-American, she and her father, former NBA forward Ben Davis, became the first father-daughter pair to both earn the honor. But Reimer says her mother, Brenda, also played a large role in her athletic success.

“It’s really always been me and my mom growing up. I lived with my mom and my aunt, so it’s really just been us three,” Reimer said. “My mom was really athletic and so was my aunt. Even though I wasn’t always with my dad I obviously knew that he played basketball and he encouraged me a lot. It was just a really athletic family.”

Reimer has yet to experience a loss as a member of the Irish, and has played in each of Notre Dame’s 23 wins this season. She averages 8.5 points and nearly 20 minutes played a game, McGraw calls her the best sixth-man in women’s college basketball.

“I think there has been a big improvement in terms of how she’s playing,” McGraw said. “She’s becoming more aggressive offensively, which is something we’ve wanted her to do. I think she’s playing with more confidence now … she really understands her role and has figured out, here are some ways I can help the team with scoring, and here are some ways I can help the team defensively, so I think she’s gotten comfortable and that’s the biggest thing.”

Reimer, who attended Hamilton Southeastern in Fishers, Ind., said the competition she played against in high school does not compare to what she faces nowadays.

“I really enjoyed [my high school team], my teammates and my coaches,” Reimer said. “College is a lot different. Obviously it’s just a higher level, the next level. Everybody’s stronger, quicker, smarter, just more athletic. I think that high school definitely helped me and got me prepared, but it’s nothing like the college game, especially playing at Notre Dame, one of the top programs in the country. We’re playing tough games every night, so it’s definitely a challenge, but it’s been really fun.”

McGraw said she anticipates even more improvement from Reimer as she spends more time in the college game.

“I think she’ll continue to get better in everything,” McGraw said. “I’d like her to score more. I think she’s a really good face-up player and she’s able to score right now doing that, but … even more so next year, I think we’d like her to look to score more. I think she’s a little too unselfish now. It’s okay to be unselfish, but you also have to look to score more.”

But for now, Reimer is also adjusting to life as a college student.

“Probably the biggest [adjustment] would be time management, just because when you’re in high school and living with your family and your parents it’s easy to rely on other people to help you out with things,” Reimer said. “This is the first time I’ve ever really been by myself or on my own, so that’s something I’ve definitely had to adjust to, making sure that I could get to practice on time and still have time to do homework and get extra shots up or hang out with friends.”

Reimer, who considers herself a music junkie and has dabbled in both piano and trombone, said she hopes to work in sports media at some point.

“I’m planning on doing Film, Television and Theater as my major,” Reimer said. “I really want to get into sports broadcasting, so that’s hopefully the route I’m going to take. I’ve taken a few classes this year that are kind of in that realm, with the journalism and television and things like that; it’s always been very interesting to me.”

 

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