A player who has made an impact on the women’s basketball team at Benedictine College is Senior Kayla Staley. She has become known to be a big-time defender, keeping the Lady Ravens opponents from scoring points.
As captain for the past two years, she has learned a lot about herself on the court as well as off with the help of her teammates, coach’s, and family’s support.
Coach Chad Folsom said she’s been a leader since day one she when first stepped foot on Benedictine’s campus.
“She’s an all-around leader that I think everyone on our team looks up too on the court, off the court.”
At the beginning of her college career, Staley came in as a raw player and since then has improved her craft, believing she’s become a better player and teammate.
“I think over the four years, I’ve refined my game and become more skilled,” Staley said. “As a person on our team, I’d say I’ve grown a lot in my ability to be a leader and my confidence in myself.”
One of the major improvements she notices is her defensive game. Her experience and knowledge she received from the time at Benedictine has been key to her improvement.
“The more time I spent playing basketball, the more that I’m able to understand the game,” Staley said. “Reading different situations that come allows me to be one step ahead of what they [the offense] are going to do next.”
A skill improved for Staley’s defensive game is the ability to take charges, causing opponents to commit fouls and ultimately mess up their play scheme. This shows as Folsom says she has the most charges in school history, a stat kept by the team and not in national stats.
“Kayla started more her sophomore year, really stepping in and taking a lot of charges,” Folsom said. “She’s got a very good talent of knowing how to take charges.”
Folsom also gives players awards after games for getting charges, which allows them to join the ‘charge club’. Staley’s efforts have influenced her teammates to take more charges as well.
“It’s helped me to become a better player and also our team to be more successful,” Staley said. “A team that takes charges can really make often another team second guess what they’re going to do.”
Leading up to and throughout Staley’s college career, her parents have been the biggest supporters both academically and in basketball. Another supporter of hers is Aly Taff, Benedictine graduate student and the teams Grad Assistant from Fall 2017 to Spring 2019, who has been there for her during college as well.
“She taught me a lot about leadership and [how to] lead a team to be successful and also just a lot about basketball,” Staley said.” She was very smart.”
Staley also gave credit to Folsom, as he’s the one who took a chance on her, but also pushing her to be the best version of herself and holding her to high standards on and off the court.
“Him [Folsom] recruiting me and allowing me to come here has allowed me to meet my best friends and allow me to play basketball,” Staley said. He’s pushed me to become the player I am and the person I am.”
Folsom said she’s been a leader since day one she when first stepped foot on Benedictine’s campus.
“She’s been our captain for the last two years,” Folsom said. “She’s an all-around leader that I think everyone on our team looks up too on the court, off the court.”