University of Oregon Women's Basketball verses Oregon State

Ducks guard Taylor Mikesell (11) attempts a shot. Oregon Ducks take on the Oregon State Beavers at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, Ore., on Dec. 13, 2020. (Kimberly Harris/Emerald)

The Ducks’ junior guard, Taylor Mikesell, has been a strong competitor since day one. From setting high school records to being named a Preseason All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention, Duck fans can look forward to the impact that she’s capable of making on the organization.

Hailing from the small town of Massillon, Ohio, Mikesell was the nation’s No. 32 ranked recruit of the 2018 class. She finished her career at Jackson High School with a total of 2,175 points, averaging 30.7 points per game.

“She once scored 32 straight points against our cross-town rival to win in overtime,” Mikesell’s high school coach Anthony Butch said. “Two weeks later, she set the state record for threes against a competitive team, while scoring a total of 60 points during the game.”

During summer of her sophomore year in high school, Mikesell played on the 2016 USA U17 World Cup team. She also earned a spot on the U.S. Pan American Games Women’s Basketball Team early in her college career.

“From a young middle school age, she was up at 5 a.m. doing ball handling in her basement before school started,” Butch said. “She puts the work ethic and hard work into a whole other category.”

While Mikesell developed a love for practicing and improving on her own, her father, Kevin Mikesell, played a pivotal role in building her into the competitor she is today.

“When she would come home after first and second grade, we would do what’s called ‘Daddy Basketball Camp’ three to four times a week,” Kevin said. “We did skills for 15 to 20 minutes with cones, and she would learn how to practice dribbling with both hands, which gradually progressed into shooting and layups when she was older.”

Through Mikesell’s eye-catching stats thus far, you wouldn’t believe that this is her first season in an Oregon uniform. Mikesell began her collegiate career at the University of Maryland, where she played for two seasons before entering the transfer portal.

“Maryland is an excellent program and she loved the university, but we knew from other scouts in the area that Kelly was a real player’s coach,” Kevin said. “The combination of a new style of offense plus his leadership and the way he put things together was a big draw.”

Mikesell was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year during the 2018-19 season after averaging 13.4 points per game and shooting 41.1% from the three-point range. The following season, she earned all Big Ten honorable mention after averaging 11.2 points per game and shooting 42.5% from the three-point range; these stats ranked her second in the Big Ten conference and 24th in the nation.

“‘Determined’ is the best word for her,” Kevin said. “The reason why is because she will work as hard as she can to get up to the next level. Her work ethic is literally unbelievable.”

Mikesell has continued to have a strong impact on the Ducks organization this season. The determination and strong work ethic from a young age have shaped her to be the athlete she is today.