What is your full name and where are you from?
My name is Tayla Mary Dalton and I am from the North Shore of Auckland, New Zealand.
Why did you choose the game of basketball?
Growing up I played every sport under the sun, from surf life saving, to touch rugby and tennis. I do believe in not choosing a sport too early, I have continued surf life saving up until this point and played netball until two years ago, and I feel as though this cross training has helped me. As I got older, I really started to lean towards basketball as it is not only an incredible sport with the creative and competitive aspects, but it is a great team sport which has allowed me to make some amazing friends along the way, and has allowed me to travel the world. I love that it is such a global sport and allows for so many opportunities.
What schools did you attend and what were your achievements and highlights?
I attended St Joseph’s Takapuna Primary School, Carmel College, and St Cuthbert’s very briefly in year 10. I am about to head off to the States to attend St Mary’s College of California for four years to play Division One basketball and get a degree which I am super excited about.
Through my high school years I really enjoyed playing the Friday night games in the Premier league and the trips to Palmerston North for Nationals. While we never won any national titles with Carmel Basketball, we made history with heading to nationals and finishing strongly in the Auckland Premier League.
You are a role model for young women, what advice do you have for them getting into basketball?
Play because you love it, waking up early in the mornings or training late at night is so much easier when you love what you do, and it makes the process more enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to put the work in while others aren’t, be willing to get better on your own.
What has been the ultimate highlight so far in your career?
I have been very fortunate to experience some amazing tournaments around the world and have visited some awesome countries. I loved the U17 World Cup in Belarus, however, my highlight so far would have to be winning silver at the U18 3×3 World Cup in Mongolia. That was pretty special to make a name for New Zealand on the World stage and to be competing against the best when playing USA in the final.
Who has been your biggest influence in basketball and why?
I am fortunate to have had many people who have had big influences in my basketball journey. From my coaches, to my teammates and then especially my family, I am so grateful to all who have helped me and believed in me.
Where do you see women’s basketball in the next five years?
Women’s Basketball is growing, and I would love to see this continue over the years. I hope that we can get a New Zealand women’s team competing in the WNBL. For young women finishing college, there isn’t much professional basketball for women in our country so they have to play elsewhere, having a team back home would be incredible. I also hope that we can have our Tall Ferns team qualify for the next Olympics! And for the women’s basketball programme in New Zealand to gain more exposure to not only show the talent coming through, but to inspire the next generation.
Who is the ultimate women’s basketball player in New Zealand?
We have had so many awesome women’s basketball players come through New Zealand, however, I would have to say Micaela Cocks. Although I have never had the chance to play against her, watching her play is amazing. She has such a wide skill set and is so fit and fast, not only this but she is a great leader, and has done an incredible job leading the Tall Ferns to some great results.
Who is the ultimate men’s basketball player in New Zealand?
Kirk Penney – he is such an inspiration and has had a phenomenal career. Not only has he inspired so many on the court, but off the court he is doing so much to give back to basketball in New Zealand and around the world which is great to see.
In terms of your playing career, what would be the pinnacle for you?
I would love to have a great career over in college in USA, and showcase my talent over there. I would also love to be apart of the Tall Ferns, and the big dream would be to get to the Olympics.
Whats the best pair of basketball shoes you have owned?
I personally loved my Kobe A.D shoes 🙂
You played in the Showcase on August 1st, what was it like to be apart of that experience?
The showcase was such a great idea, and couldn’t have come at a better time to showcase women’s basketball here in New Zealand after what feels like a long time without much basketball action due to covid-19. It was so special to be playing alongside some of the very best in our country, and to be wearing the fern in front of our families and friends. We had the amazing opportunity to not only showcase our talent but inspire all of the young female ballers watching, we played that game for them, to show that any young girl can chase her dream of being a Tall Fern.