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Medina enjoying her time at Villanova

Chicago, Ill. is likely to hold a special place in Taliyah Medina’s heart, having scored the first basket of her college hoops career there during Villanova’s game at DePaul on Jan. 4.

And while Medina said the DePaul game was her favorite so far, ‘Nova’s game against Rider on Nov. 25 was the first in which the former Bethlehem Catholic guard saw playing time for the Wildcats.

“It was later in the fourth quarter when Coach Dillon called my number, and when she did, I was both happy and nervous,” Medina said. “The pace of college basketball is very fast compared to high school, and I knew this, but I still didn’t know exactly what to expect. But when I stepped onto the court, I knew I had to immediately let go of being nervous, and lock in, and get focused.”

Villanova’s record is 8-2 as of Jan. 11.

“We’ve had five away games so far. I love traveling to away games. For St. John’s, Temple, and Seton Hall, we traveled on the academy bus, and for DePaul, we took a charter plane, and it was my first time ever in one. We stay in very nice hotels and eat the best food,” said Medina. “I like away games because I usually have a lot of time to myself to sit and mentally prepare for the game by listening to music and re-watching film on the team.”

Medina scored 11 points in the Seton Hall game on Jan. 6, and as a Wildcat freshman, Medin has been learning how to adapt, learn quickly, and manage her time on top of a continuing pandemic.

“The transition from high school to college is hard. The amount of work increases, along with the amount of responsibilities and demand. Time management is so important, especially for a student athlete who has to manage practices, lifts, classes, treatment before and after practices, and homework,” she said.

“There were many times throughout the semester that I found myself stressed. But I was always able to call my parents and ask my teammates for help. Being away from home took a lot of getting used to, but knowing my parents were only a phone call away made me feel a lot better. Being on a team has many benefits as well because there are so many people around you to help and support you.”

Villanova’s women’s basketball season is scheduled to run through Feb. 27 when the Wildcats will host Marquette.

“With a new coaching staff this year, everyone is learning new plays. It’s important that we all have the sets memorized so that we’re all able to play and be on the same page,” Medina said. “It’s always challenging, but through an app, we’re able to view all of our sets, and the coaches are always available to go over anything or talk us through something if we don’t understand.”