Gabby Lyon has spent a lot of time during her high school years in Murfreesboro, and she didn’t want that to change in college.
The 6-foot Science Hill senior post signed Wednesday with Middle Tennessee State, where she’ll join former Lady Hilltoppers teammate Shy Copney.
Lyon and Copney helped Science Hill reach the state championship game each of the past two seasons in Murfreesboro after advancing to the state semifinals there in 2011. They also played AAU and competed at summer team camps with Science Hill there, and had a memorable regular-season game last season at Murfreesboro Riverdale, which is the two-time defending state champion.
It isn’t out of the question that Science Hill senior point guard Tianna Tarter could end up signing with the Lady Blue Raiders in the spring.
Lyon said she likes Murfreesboro and the fact that Nashville’s nearby, and the MTSU program began to grow on her when she was a sophomore at the state tournament.
“Shy said she loves it there and everything’s going good,” Lyon said. “She just told me it’s different from high school and that she had to learn how to give 100 percent all the time. And I’m glad that I have coach (Keith) Turner here this year, because I know that he’ll push me to get me there before I get down there and have to go through that.”
Coach Rick Insell’s Lady Blue Raiders opened the season Friday in the Murphy Center with a crowd of 11,227 that saw them drop a hard-fought 67-57 decision to No. 4 Tennessee. MTSU has made seven NCAA Tournament appearances and had three WNBA draft picks in Insell’s eight seasons, and he’s excited to be adding Lyon to the mix.
“Gabby is hard-nosed, very athletic and knows how to win,” Insell said in a release from the school. “When you look at what’s taking place in the last three years at Science Hill, they have been to the state tournament three times and to the championship game twice. This past summer, she was very instrumental in the success of the Tennessee Flight program, which is probably the best travel team program in the country. I am very happy what she can do for our program coming in.”
A two-time all-conference, all-district, all-region and all-state tournament team selection, Lyon led the Lady ‘Toppers in blocked shots and ranked second in scoring last season. She scored her 1,000th career point on Feb. 19 and set a state record last season for highest single-season field goal percentage (68.0).
“Obviously, she’s joining a Top 25 program,” Science Hill first-year coach Keith Turner said. “She’s going in at a nice time when they’ve got good players. And I think her ceiling on her game is even higher than what we’ve seen around here. … “She’s been a treat to coach. She works hard and is really a good team leader.”
Lyon’s career flashed before her eyes at her signing ceremony. The days of playing in the Rec League with her father, Bart, and all the one-on-one instruction from her grandfather, Buzzy Love, seemed close and far away. She mentioned travel coaches Tim Foster (Stars), Michael Potts (Lady Trotters) and, most recently, Insell’s son Tom with the Flight.
“It’s been a great journey,” Lyon said, “and I’m really thankful and blessed for it to continue.”