Taylor brings energy, excitement to Storm women’s basketball


by Megan Frank, Special to The Simpsonian

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Coming to Simpson to play basketball, Jenna Taylor was excited to get back on the court following her high school career.

Two weeks into practice she started to feel pain in her right shin.

“I just figured it was shin splints and the internet said there wasn’t much you could do, so I didn’t really tell anyone,” Taylor said.

The pain continued to progress and Taylor began walking with a limp. This convinced her to see an athletic trainer, who had her doing exercises for shin splints for a month.

“The pain just kept getting worse and any rest wasn’t helping,” Taylor said. “So I went to the doctor and got an X-ray over Thanksgiving break of my freshman year.”

Taylor’s doctor couldn’t tell much at all from the images taken and thought it might be a stress fracture, so Taylor was put in a boot.

A month later when she went back home to Creston for Christmas, Taylor got another X-ray done. This one had a much different result. Her doctor saw a large crack through the middle of Taylor’s tibia.

With that news, Taylor knew her basketball season was over before it even began.

While her anticipation to play again built up, Taylor and head coach Brian Niemuth remained optimistic for her future in basketball.

“Mentally, it made her a little ahead of the game just by being at every practice and seeing how things were done and what the coaches wanted from the sideline,” Niemuth said. “It obviously built up a little desire for her to get back out there and do the best she can. She’s really put in the extra time.”

Throughout her rehab, Taylor spent a lot of time on the stationary bike and also some time in the Swim-X and doing upper body. Niemuth also had her use a bone stimulator to help heal her injury faster, but the tibia never healed enough for Taylor to see the court in the 2016-17 season.

All of those extra reps and shots put up in the gym have proved worth it.

Taylor, now a sophomore, has shown herself as a matchup nightmare this season in the IIAC. The 6-foot-tall power forward stretches the floor, as she is shooting over 40 percent from behind the arc.

“With my size, I can go inside and I’ve really worked on my shot so I can go inside or out depending on the defender I have on me,” Taylor said.

Not only does Taylor contribute to the team with her play on the court, she leads with her attitude off the hardwood as well.

“She’s a very smart young lady, and she takes her academics very seriously,” Niemuth said. “I think she works really hard and likes to have fun.”

Taylor has been a key component to the Storm’s success this season, but she has no intentions of slowing down.

With a big, 90-85 win in the quarterfinals of the IIAC tournament Tuesday against Coe, Taylor finished with 22 points and five rebounds. The Storm will travel to Decorah to take on No. 2 seed Luther on Thursday in hopes of advancing to the IIAC championship game.