BRISBANE, Australia (CMC) – West Indies skipper Stafanie Taylor says her side need to repeat the intensity of their title-winning campaign four years ago, in order to prevail at the Twenty20 World Cup starting later this month.The Caribbean stunned multiple-time champions Australia in the final of the 2016 tournament in Kolkata to lift their first-ever world title.“I have played a lot of games over the years but the memories of India 2016 stand out so much,” said Taylor.“Looking back on it, I’m just hoping that we can replicate it again this year – both the feeling that we had as a team and the impact that individual players had on the tournament from start to finish.”She added: “Four years ago was a perfect storm for us. We really wanted to win, and I think we left all we had on the field throughout the tournament, especially in the final against Australia.”West Indies Women failed get out of the group stage of the inaugural tournament in 2009 but were good enough to reach the semi-finals the following year at home before losing to New Zealand.They were beaten by the Aussies in the semi-finals of the 2012 tournament in Sri Lanka, suffered the same fate two years later in Bangladesh, before achieving success in 2016.“We had never made it beyond the semi-finals before, while they (Australia) were looking to win the title for the fourth successive time, so we knew it would be a really big challenge for us,” Taylor explained.“But we went out there and did it for our country, creating memories that we won’t forget.”She continued: “This time around, we just need to do that again, play our game and push until the last ball to see how far that can take us. Winning the title and bringing the trophy back to the West Indies would be success for us.”West Indies failed in the defence of their title at home in 2018 after losing to Australia in the semi-finals.The Windies’ fortunes have taken a turn for the worse of recent, however, losing nine of their last 11 T20 Internationals while also failing to win a single game during that period.They received a boost for tournament with the inclusion of world-rated all-rounder Deandra Dottin who has not played international cricket in a year due to injury and subsequent surgery.Taylor believes Dottin’s return and that of the new-ball pair of Shamilia Connell and Shakera Selman – both have recovered from injury – will improve the Windies’ performances.“We have some exciting players in the team. Deandra Dottin is back after a long time out injured, and we have seen what she is capable of producing at previous T20 World Cups,” Taylor pointed out.“She is a very important player with both bat and ball, she gives you all the options, and her experience is something we’ll be looking for.“We also welcome back some other absent players. Shamilia Connell and Shakera Selman had both been sidelined with injuries.”West Indies will do battle in Group B alongside the likes of England, Pakistan, South Africa and minnows Thailand, and Taylor said she expected the campaign to be a competitive one.“These are the best teams in the world that are all set for an exciting competition,” she noted.“It’s going to be a challenge, we as a team know that, but we need to make sure that we focus on ourselves and not what is going on around us. That will be the way for us to be successful over the next few weeks.”
Water polo is a sport I had never watched until last August. Lacrosse is something I had never seen in person until March. These two teams are currently dominating the nation. USC’s women’s water polo and women’s lacrosse team are a combined 35-0 this year.Despite their success, these sports are flying under the radar. Their success comes during a school year in which the football team had another tumultuous year that ended with mixed emotions — the hiring of head coach Clay Helton to go along with a great victory over UCLA that won the Pac-12 South for the Trojans before falling in the championship game to an underrated Stanford team and a season-ending loss in the Holiday Bowl.USC basketball was relevant for the first time in ages, winning 21 games, beating UCLA three times and earning a spot to the NCAA tournament where they lost in the first round.Those will be the storylines from this year that will be remembered even though there are other athletes who are equally deserving of attention and praise, if not more so given their record of success.Fans should be watching these teams compete. I am one of the fans to blame as well. As previously mentioned, I hadn’t watched either sport until this year, but I can assure you, even someone who knows nothing of either sport will be entertained.The competitive spirit and drive to greatness of these athletes is something to behold, and to have two programs dominating the competition at the same time is incredible.Women’s water polo is No. 1 in the country and has been for several weeks. Women’s lacrosse has been steadily climbing up the rankings and has now broken into the top five.The sports should be celebrated regardless of the outcome of the rest of their season as we celebrated a football and basketball team who had less dominating regular seasons and subpar postseasons. The lacrosse and water polo teams have the opportunity to do something special and cap potentially undefeated seasons with conference and national titles.Should the water polo team put themselves in a position to end an undefeated season with a national championship, it would be the fourth for the team under the guidance of head coach Jovan Vavic who has also led the men’s team to nine national titles. Entering this season, the water polo team has played in the NCAA tournament 12 straight seasons and finished in third for the second straight year. Prior to that in 2013, the Women of Troy won it all.The success of this program is well documented and should not come as a surprise to anyone, but this season has the potential to be one for the record books should the team finish their regular season on Friday without losing a game all year. The team is currently 20-0 and a win against Cal on Friday would put them at 21 wins — the same number as the men’s basketball team put up. The NCAA tournament is approaching soon after in May.For the lacrosse team — a program in just its fourth year since its inception — the road to success is much shorter. After making their first NCAA tournament appearance last year and losing to perennial powerhouse Duke, the Women of Troy came back with a vengeance this season that has included avenging their previous loss to the Blue Devils.As the Women of Troy have blazed through MPSF play, consistently putting up double-digit scores, critics could have said that the competition was below them and they should have been beating these teams. The Trojans 14th and 15th wins of the year came recently against the No. 12 and No. 6 team in the country.The lacrosse team has similarly not dropped a game this season and is poised to have a legitimate shot at taking home a national title.The harsh reality of the situation is however, if these teams fail to win it all, their masterful seasons will most likely be forgotten. Even if they do win the national title, there won’t be nearly the celebration that would have occurred had the football or basketball team gotten just as close.Part of the reason is the school calendar in saying that the tournaments for lacrosse and water polo are just not as convenient for students to keep up with as March Madness or the College Football Playoff, and while that is certainly true to an extent, the fact of the matter is that the sports are just not as popular.While they deserve credit and accolades to be poured upon them, there isn’t the same buzz surrounding these programs as there should be. It remains to be seen what the final storyline will be for these programs, but surely a dedicated slice of students will be paying attention regardless of what happens.As Trojans, aren’t we all in the pursuit of perfection? We should be celebrating the athletes that have come the closest to achieving it.Hailey Tucker is a sophomore majoring in broadcast and digital journalism. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Tucker Talks,” runs every other Wednesday.