NEW RIVER VALLEY, Va. (WFXR) – It’s not everyday that athletes get the chance to play on the division I collegiate level. It’s even more rare that sisters Kayana and Ashlyn Traylor get that opportunity. Both sister play college basketball for two different programs within 25 minutes of each other in the New River Valley. For both sisters playing basketball in southwest Virginia was a coincidence.
“My coach had mentioned to me that someone over at Radford was interested in her. So it kind of started like that honestly but all credit to her she had a really good year her senior year,” says Virginia Tech senior guard Kayana Traylor.
For Radford freshman guard Ashlyn Traylor taking her talents to the New River Valley was a easy decision.
“I knew about Radford just because it was so close to Virginia Tech. So I was like I want to go to Radford before I had even gotten offered. I went on a visit and I committed the same day.”
Being so close to each other has also come with it’s share of unique experiences.
“I think it’s just nice having somebody that you’re comfortable with. Somebody you know, somebody just close, in the area even if we don’t get to see each other all the time because obviously we’re both super busy. Just knowing that we have somebody down here has been cool,” explains Traylor.
Hitting the court comes easy for the Traylor sisters, especially since the game of basketball has always been a family affair while growing up in Indiana.
“Our family has always grown up around basketball so it’s kind of in our blood at this point,” says Traylor.
For Kayana, playing the sport with her family always brings out the best in her siblings.
“Yeah I would say it’s been a lot of fun a lot of competition but at the same time we really do just want the best for each other. It’s never a competition within ourselves.”
The love of the game spans generations of the Traylor family tree. Their aunt April Traylor carved out her own path over at Florida State University, while their mother played for Louisiana State. For both Kayana and Ashlyn, it’s what they learned from their mother that has continued to not only guide their careers but their lives.
“I mean she’s a single mom of four girls so that in itself. I just can’t imagine. I’m sure I don’t even know everything that she had to sacrifice. But I’m just speaking on terms on like…say we’re playing at the same time on the same day she had to go to one and send us with somebody else and take turns. Just small stuff like that and always putting us first. She’s the most selfless person I know and I would say unlimited unselfishness,” explains Kayana Traylor.
For Ashlyn, it’s also the sacrifices their mother has made that have played a role in each of their lives.
“I would also say that she cut herself short but in terms of basketball she did just so that she could have us and have a family so I think that basketball wise she did sacrifice a few years.”
When Kayana and Ashlyn compete they also make sure they lift each other up.
“It’s always positive reinforcement and just encouragement like I said and just really letting her know that I’m proud of her regarless. It doesn’t matter if you go and score 20 points or six points it doesn’t matter,” states Traylor.
According to Ashlyn no matter the age gap, the respect on the court is always present off the hardwood.
“She listens to me as much as I listen to her just as much as I listen to her so regardless of the age.”
As their basketball family thrives on the court, the game itself continues to bring them closer together.