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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

First year Talya Brugler earns All-Big 5 accolades

Brugler goes for a layup against Davidson University on Feb 6. PHOTO: KELLY SHANNON ’24/THE HAWK

The St. Joe’s women’s basketball team may have found themselves a star in the making in the 2021-22 season.

In her rookie season, first-year forward Talya Brugler had an enormous impact on the Hawks. The Nazareth, Pennsylvania native won six Atlantic 10 (A-10) Rookie of the Week awards, the A-10 and Big 5 Rookie of the Year awards and was selected to the All-Big 5 Second Team along with graduate guard and team captain Katie Jekot. 

Brugler said the accolades are a result of the hard work she has invested in her game.

“When I came here, I did not really know what to expect from joining a new team with a bunch of new girls,” Brugler said. “It just shows that I fit in with them perfectly and we meshed as a team, and that my hard work is paying off for me.”

Brugler led the Hawks in both scoring (10.6 points per game) and rebounding (5.7 rebounds per game), two categories where the team needed to replace production afterlast season’s leaders in both categories (Kaliah Henderson in points per game, and Gabby Smalls in rebounds per game) transferred out. 

According to Head Coach Cindy Griffin, Brugler’s game developed nicely as the season progressed.

“[Brugler] did a lot for us on both ends of the floor,” Griffin said. “I think as a freshman, you are feeling out where you are going to fit in, where your skill set fits in this offensive system, and where you can find your niche without losing a sense of who you are as a player.”

Griffin said Brugler adds a sense of spontaneity to the offense, finding herself open in space and creating quality shots for herself.

“Most times we don’t even run anything for her,” Griffin said. “She just finds a way to get in the right place at the right time, and she makes open shots.”

According to Brugler, the aspect of her game that improved the most throughout the season was her physicality.

“In the beginning of the season, I was not as physical,” Brugler said. “Toward the end, I was just more physical and it helped me with my rebounding and finishing around the basket.”

According to Jekot, one of Brugler’s other contributions to the team was opening up things offensively for other players.

“Not only can she post up against the girls that are guarding her, but she spreads the floor by shooting the three,” Jekot said. “[That] really helped the shorter girls on our team to be able to drive.”

Griffin said Brugler puts the team first, is constantly working hard to improve, watches film and is a very consistent, coachable player who will not be content with her achievements so far.

“As far as productivity goes, I think that level increased,” Griffin said. “I think she understood the physicality of the game and the speed of the game.”

Brugler said a mindset that has helped her so far is the idea that someone is always working harder than you.

“Every girl that plays Division I women’s basketball is obviously there for a reason,” Brugler said. “So it’s just a matter of who works harder and who just has more of a relentless mentality going into a game.”

According to Jekot, Brugler is a great communicator for a first-year player, and those communication skills made things much easier for her as a leader on the floor.

“When freshmen come in, they are a little shy,” Jekot said. “But as the year went on, she kept talking with our team and especially helping out other first-year players.”

Griffin said Brugler’s first-year awards are very encouraging, especially because there were several great rookies in both the A-10 and the Big 5 this season.

“I think it is just a credit to what Talya [Brugler] has done this year,” Griffin said. “And to be able to be recognized as a freshman in strong basketball leagues like the A-10 and the Big 5 is great.”

Brugler said she plans to build upon her standout rookie campaign by continuing to improve in the weight room, work on her perimeter game and further improving her mentality.

“Having a year under my belt and being more comfortable with everything that is going to be thrown at us next year will help me improve,” Brugler said. “I think more experience will help me improve as well.”

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