DRAFFENVILLE — Cayson Conner admitted the past few weeks have been a whirlwind with Marshall County playing in a state basketball tournament, reaching the championship game and falling by a mere two points, and then getting ready to hit the softball field for the first time in two years.
Then came the call from Murray State women’s basketball coach Rechelle Turner with an offer for Conner to continue her hoops career with the Racers.
Monday, Conner signed her letter of intent to do just that.
“It was a little bit unexpected,” she said. “(Softball) had always been my main sport, but after the past two seasons of basketball, it had been more of a goal of mine; either (sport) really, whichever one I had the best opportunity and I’m just so thankful. I’m excited.”
On the Murray State athletics website, Turner, who was a former standout player for the Lady Marshals, said Conner’s resume shows she knows how to play for championships.
“She adds speed and toughness to our backcourt, and her competitive nature will help our team get better every day,” Turner said in announcing Conner and two other recruits to Murray State on goracers.com.
Lady Marshals head girls basketball coach Aaron Beth noted Conner’s competitiveness has been on display throughout her high school career, especially over the past two seasons where she’s averaged nearly 15 points a game.
“She stepped her game up the last two weeks of the season and definitely in the postseason. You could tell she took over more than she had,” Beth said. “She didn’t shoot as much as she could have during the year. Still, she led us in assists (124), steals (76), points (377), defense. We could use her on the point guard or the other team’s post. She’s so versatile and accepted any challenge.”
In her four years playing for the Lady Marshals, Conner recorded 1,482 points. She is a twice All-Purchase player and was named Most Valuable Player for the First Region basketball tournament two times. She earned the Joey Fosko Award at this season’s regional tournament and was the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches’ First Region Player of the Year. She was also named to the KHSAA State All-Tournament team.
On the softball diamond, Conner has also helped the Lady Marshals’ team to a pair of regional titles.
Conner, who hopes to study in the medical field, said she has improved from her freshman and sophomore seasons on the hardwood, especially as a scorer and leader. With that mindset, she wants to continue improving with Murray State.
“I hope to improve in any way I can defensively and offensively and just do whatever I can to help the team,” she said.
“I’m so proud for her. She’s worked so hard and deserves this 100%,” Beth added. “I think she’ll be a great attribute to the program and hopefully have a good four-year career down there as well.”
With the ups and downs this recent window of time has shown, Conner said above all she feels blessed with what she and her Lady Marshal teammates accomplished and what lies ahead.
“The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions. Coming off the state tournament loss, it was devastating but it was a great week. That one loss doesn’t define our season,” she said. “Getting the call from coach Turner, it’s such a blessing and I’m so thankful.”