What water is to a flower and a camera is to a movie producer, assistant coach Barb Thaller is to the Cal Poly women's basketball program. Thaller's multiple responsibilities go well beyond the games themselves, and into such areas as scouting, recruiting, and evaluating players. ``Scouting is so important to the successful makeup of any basketball program that it keeps me out almost every night of the week between November and April,'' Thaller explained. ``When I'm not scouting one of our future opponents, I'm out looking at possible recruits for Cal Poly. And since some high schools play in the afternoon and others at night, I'm often able to see two games in the same day.
``When I do find someone I think can help our program, I make out a four-page report and give it to head coach Darlene May,'' she added. ``Basically my report covers areas like attitude, shooting, passing, ball handling, and court sense. Only after reading that report will Darlene decide whether she wants to take time out from her schedule to scout the player herself.''
Thaller's routine whenever Cal Poly has a game, she says, is almost exactly the opposite of May's. ``While Darlene has to be concerned with the whole picture while the game is in progress, I'm able to concentrate on specific areas,'' Barb said. ``For example, if I spot a weakness right away in our opponent's defense, I not only call it to Darlene's attention but also suggest a way to take advantage of this. Then, whether we win or lose, I do a complete report on both Cal Poly and its opponent [based on that game]. Later that report gets filed away for future reference.''
After playing three years for the Broncos, in which she totaled 634 points, Thaller graduated from Cal Poly in 1979 with a phys. ed. degree. She was good enough to have received an offer to try out with the Milwaukee Does of the Women's Professional Basketball League, which she declined.