The Wolfpacker

March 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 61 of 95

she said. "That's when I had a second MRI done and they found I'd torn my meniscus." In the summer of 2008, a second MRI found another tear in Tasler's meniscus, in addition to a stretched ACL. A second year of laborious rehab finally allowed Tasler to play in 2009-10, Harper's first year in Ra- leigh. She saw action in all 34 games in NC State's 20-14 season, scoring a then-career- high 11 points at South Carolina and aver- aging 2.9 points and 1.7 rebounds a contest as a backup point guard to junior Amber White and freshman Marissa Kastanek. Following the season, however, Tasler began feeling pain in her left calf. "It was like a cramp, but 10 times worse — I thought it was going to explode," she rec alled. An initial treatment to relieve pressure caused by tight muscle tissue (compart- ment syndrome) seemed to help, but 13 games into the 2010-11 season, the pain returned, ending Tasler's second playing season in December 2010. Another test revealed a blockage in Tasler's popliteal artery, which feeds blood to the calf, which was so severe the artery had to be replaced by a vein grafted from her thigh. "They said it was a very rare thing," she said with a laugh, "but pretty typical of my luck." Though Tasler's college playing expe- rience totaled only 47 games over four calendar years, Harper and her coaching staff knew by December 2010 that their 5-8 guard was a vital part of whatever success the Pack enjoyed. "To be honest, I feel not having her the second half of last year [when NC State lost 11 of its final 17 games] really hurt us," the coach said. "She's a pretty good defensive player; she's not the strongest or quickest, but she knows the game, is very active with her hands and feet and is proactive." That defensive prowess, which Tasler admits has probably developed as a by- product of her injuries hampering other facets of her game, as well as a knack for delivering clutch three-point shots, helped earn her a starting position she hasn't relin- quished this season. She's continued to provide tough, on- ball defense against opposing teams' perimeter players, passed for 88 assists (second on the team to sophomore point guard Myisha Goodwin-Coleman's 101) and had the fifth-best assists-to-turnovers ratio (1.5-to-1.0) in the ACC as of Feb. 19. And though she has never been relied upon for major scoring responsibility (she averages 4.5 points a game, seventh on the Pack in scoring), Tasler showed she can 62 ■ THE WOLFPACKER undecided between a career in coaching or in some administrative or marketing position in athletics — Tasler said she is simply hoping to remain a vital contribu- tor to NC State's quest for a strong finish to what's been an up-and-down 2011-12 season. "I have a lot of great memories — going to the ACC championship game and the NCAA Tournament with Coach Kellie her first year [in 2010], and just playing with my teammates and the coaches I've had," Tasler said. "I feel I've been very lucky to have Coach Yow and Coach Kellie and their staffs, people who have been so great and supportive of me with all the issues I've had." Tasler also feels that her two years with Yow helped her cope with her own setbacks. "Seeing how she handled her disease was so much of an inspiration for me," Tasler said. "It taught me lessons about perseverance that I'll always take with me. "And I'll never forget one of the first Through Feb. 19, Tasler was averaging 4.5 points per game and had dished out 88 assists as the Pack's starting point guard. PHOTO BY ROB BRADLEY still hurt a team that allows her open shots when she buried 4 of 7 attempts from be- yond the arc (6 of 9 total shots, her career highs for makes and attempts) for a career- best 16 points in a 62-46 win at Clemson Jan. 19. "I actually had a horrible first half," she admitted, "but Myisha and my teammates got me the ball when I was open, and after the first couple went in, I just figured I'd keep shooting them. times I had to meet with the doctor at [the Weisiger-Brown athletic facility]. I walked into the room, and Coach Yow was there waiting for me — I didn't expect anyone to be there. It meant a lot to me that she was there for someone who hadn't contributed at all and was beginning to feel like a bur- den to the team. She never made me feel that way at all." Far from a "burden," Tasler has over- come challenges that would have ended the careers of many others, becoming not just a contributor, but a vital part of the Wolfpack women's basketball program. "She may not have played as many games as a typical fifth-year senior," Harper pointed out, "but she has experience and the understanding of what we're trying to do. That, in itself, is a reason to have her in the starting lineup. on the floor, and I think that comes from the passion she has for basketball — and the fact that with all the disappointments she's had because of her injuries, she wants so badly to play and contribute." ■ Head coach Kellie Harper on Tasler "She gives you everything she's got when she's "I don't feel I should have taken more shots in other games — I know my role is to pass and play defense. The one thing I can control is how hard I play, and I'm always going to give 110 percent when I'm out there. I take a lot of pride in playing defense now — it kills me when someone scores on me." On schedule to graduate this spring with a degree in sports management — and still "But beyond that, Emili has given us exactly what I expected her to do. She still makes the occasional mistake … but she's one of those who can play through mis- takes and bounce back." Resilience. It's a word that Tasler has lived for six years, through lessons that will carry far beyond the hardwood of Reynolds Coliseum — and will serve as an example for future Wolfpack players. ■

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolfpacker - March 2012