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Pete Nakos

ATHENS, Ohio — A a year ago at practice, Taylor Agler was coming around a flare screen and tripped over herself. She was by herself at the top of the key and just fell over in thin air.

The entire gym burst into laughter, including Agler. For those few seconds, she broke from being Taylor Agler, the leader on the team, to Taylor Agler, the fun-loving teammate. 

It's not that she hasn't been a great teammate this season, but as the only senior on the team, she has to make sure she's setting a role for the underclassmen. Whether it's taking the time to go over plays with a freshman to organizing team meetings, most of it falls on her. 

"She's just been a great leader this year," teammate Dominique Doseck said. "Especially this past summer, I really tried to model some of my game after her. She does things really well, she's an incredible passer. She's never going to give up on us.

"This team wouldn't be where it's at right now if she wasn't on this team. Absolutely not."

Despite being the only senior, being a leader isn't a burden at all for Agler. She basically grew up with one of the leaders of women's basketball. Her father — Brian Agler —  is the coach of the Los Angles Sparks, a member of the WNBA. He's the only coach in WNBA history to win two titles with different teams. 

And as Taylor puts it, she was never forced to play basketball, it just came naturally to her. Being around the game obviously helped, too. 

"I don't really know anything different, so I can't really compare it to anything else," she said. "It's been great growing up around a professional basketball coach, just getting to meet the greatest athletes in the world. They've been my role models my whole life, and I've been able to model my life off of them."

Taylor wasn't always a Bobcat. Technically a redshirt senior transfer, she played her freshmen and sophomore year at Indiana University. As a freshman, she set the program record of 49 3-pointers made by a freshman, along with starting all 34 games and averaging 7.8 points per game. 

After a new coach was hired headed into her sophomore season, she sensed a change might be coming. So after her second season as a Hoosier, she started to look around at other schools, diving back into the well of friends she made playing AAU growing up, most of whom were playing Division I basketball. 

She came across those friends at Ohio, such as Yamonie Jenkins, Kiki Lampkins, and Jasmine Weatherspoon. Taylor also found a coach in Athens that she trusted, one who would better her game — Bob Boldon. 

"After I left Indiana, I had five or six AAU teammates I had been playing with when I was growing up that were here, they were all in the senior class last year," Taylor said. "It was just a really easy transition. I heard nothing but great things about Bob and how great I'd fit into the system."

After sitting out the 2015-16 season at Ohio due to transfer rules, she was able to return to playing the game she loves. Last season resulted in a loss in the Mid-American Conference quarterfinals to Northern Illinois, an unexpected loss. 

Having to say goodbye to all those seniors who brought Taylor to Athens had to be tough, but it was the will to win a MAC Tournament that kept her interested. 

Five new freshmen, a more experienced junior class, that's what has made Taylor the great leader she is to this team. With two games to go, Ohio is poised to picking up a first-round bye, punching a ticket straight to Cleveland. 

This is all after being picked to finish third in the MAC East and not a single vote to win the conference tournament. 

Seems a bit cliché to end Agler's basketball playing career, defining the odds. 

"I'll always remember the energy and enthusiasm she has for the game," Boldon said. "She shows up to practices and games with a true enjoyment of what she's doing and that's playing basketball. She loves it. 

"You can see it in her frustration, too. Not only when she does poorly, but if our team does poorly. We've been pretty fortunate to have someone like her on the team, someone who is so team-oriented."

Pete Nakos is the Writer for Ohio Athletics. Have any questions? Email him at pn997515@ohio.edu or follow him on Twitter @Pete_Nakos96.



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