CHAMPAIGN — Taylor Edwards already had a decorated basketball career before she focused solely on softball in college.
Now, the Arcola graduate will get the chance to add to her accomplishments on the basketball court. Illinois announced on Wednesday that Edwards, who spent the past four seasons pitching for the Illini softball program, will be added to the roster for the Illinois women's basketball team for the 2019-2020 season.
"We are excited to have Taylor join our basketball program after a great career with the Illinois softball program," Illinois women's basketball coach Nancy Fahey said in a statement. "Taylor's commitment, work ethic and love of the Illini are readily apparent the minute you meet her. Although the sport is different, her competitive attitude is something any coach would want in their program."
Edwards last played competitive hoops during the 2014-15 school year when she was a senior at Arcola. The 5-foot-7 Edwards compiled 1,628 career points with the Purple Riders, helping Arcola win Class 1A regional titles in 2014 and 2015 and earned All-Area First Team honors twice from The News-Gazette during her prep basketball career.
A four-sport athlete at Arcola — she also played volleyball and ran track and field — Edwards contributed the last four seasons in the pitching circle for the Illinois softball program.
The right-hander compiled a 37-19 record in 61 starts, including 12 complete game and four shutouts. She was a part of three Illinois teams that reached the NCAA tournament.
Edwards will join an Illinois women's basketball team that finished 10-20 last season, including 2-16 in the Big Ten, during Fahey's second season in charge of the Illini.
"I love this game and I love this school so much," Edwards said in a statement. "I am so incredibly thankful for the chance to play again, and I am even more excited for the opportunity to wear 'ILLINOIS' across my chest for one more year. This place is special."