Rahman’s height may make her overlooked, but don’t underestimate her on the court.
Taliyah Rahman might not be the biggest player on the court, but she’s been coming up huge this year.
Rahman, a junior point guard on the Archbishop Ryan High School girls basketball team, stands 5 feet tall. That might mean she’s overlooked by some opponents, but that doesn’t last very long.
“I think people see me, and see I’m not that tall, so they underestimate me,” said Rahman, now in her second year as a starter and third year on the varsity team.
“But my height doesn’t hurt me. It doesn’t hurt my passing or seeing the floor. Once they see me do it, they play me a little different.”
Rahman is very happy with what the Ragdolls have on the team, but she’s not thrilled with the team’s record.
After starting out 17–0, the Ragdolls dropped their final five games of the regular season. The worst part was how they lost them.
They lost to Cardinal O’Hara by two. Then fell to Neumann-Goretti by two. Then suffered a three-point setback to Archbishop Carroll. Then, after a double-digit loss to Archbishop Wood, the Ragdolls lost their finale to Bonner-Prendergast by a single point.
Ryan certainly didn’t want to be in the midst of a five-game losing streak when it plays its first playoff game on Friday against O’Hara, but according to Rahman, the losses proved the Ragdolls could compete with any team in the Catholic League.
“I think the worst part was, I don’t want to say we were scared, but we were intimidated by the other teams’ uniforms,” Rahman said. “I personally think we’re the best team in the league, even though there are a lot of very good teams. I just like our team.
“I don’t think we lost because we weren’t trying or anything like that, I just think other teams made big plays and then the games were over. I’m happy we proved we could play with everyone. It lets us know that if we don’t make mistakes and play as hard as we can, we can be very good.”
Rahman has many reasons to want to beat O’Hara in the opening round, but the biggest one could be the change in venue for the girls Catholic League semifinals. This year, the two semifinal games will be played at the Palestra.
If you know your city history, you know that every player wants to step foot on that magical court.
“I was really excited last year because the boys team played there and I have a lot of friends on that team,” Rahman said. “I was excited just to go and watch and I was really excited for them to get a chance to play there. I got really excited when I heard the semifinals were going there. Everyone loves it there.”
The news about the Palestra may have made her happy, but when she’s on the court, Rahman rarely gets rattled.
The Ragdolls have a talented lineup of people who can score, but nobody can supply the stability that Rahman does when the ball is in her hands.
“I’m there to slow everything down and to make sure everyone knows what’s going on,” the Hunting Park resident said.
“I like getting my teammates set up. I love doing that because it makes them better, and it’s why we’re playing better. The bond this team has is so strong, and when we’re winning, it gets stronger.”
Rahman is friends with everyone on the team.
She loves them all like sisters.
But because she’s a point guard, she has to let players know when they need to change something up. Those aren’t conversations she likes to have, but because she wants to win, she has them when needed.
“It’s hard telling them things like that because we’re all girls and we don’t like hearing that,” Rahman said. “But there’s no hard feelings. I’m only doing it because I want us to win and I think everyone knows that. It’s a lot easier to do it now than it was in the beginning of the season because we have such a strong bond.”
The bond will only get stronger if the team makes a lengthy run in the playoffs.
Ryan proved it can play with the heavyweights during the rough stretch at the end of the season, but the Ragdolls still need to get over the top to advance.
Rahman is confident that’s possible.
“O’Hara is great, but I think we can play with anyone,” Rahman said. “I’m a junior, but we have a lot of seniors who mean so much to this team. I don’t want to wait, I want to win for them.
“I just don’t want to stop playing with this team. I think we’ll all play our best because we’re playing for each other. We want to win for each other.”