Five Maryland female basketball players including All-American Angel Reese enter transfer portal – Baltimore Sun
The Maryland women’s basketball team’s off-season exodus continued on Wednesday, a day after two stars entered the transfer portal.
Junior striker Mimi Collins became the fifth Terps player to enter the portal since Tuesday morning, a team spokesperson confirmed. Collins joined sophomore forward Angel Reese, an Associated Press third-team All-American last season, and junior Ashley Owusu, a 2020-21 third-team AP All-American, who had earlier announced their intention to transfer.
Two reservists from graduate student guard Channise Lewis and second-year guard Taisiya Kozlova are also moving on.
The departures leave coach Brenda Frese with just one returning player who started more than 10 games last season. Junior guard Diamond Miller, who was limited to 18 starts last season, is expected to return but will miss three to six months after undergoing knee surgery in the offseason, according to the team spokesperson.
Maryland must also replace starting guard Katie Benzan and forward Chloe Bibby, who declared themselves for the WNBA draft after exhausting their eligibility.
New NCAA transfer rules, which changed after the 2019 season, allow Division I players to transfer once to another Division I school, for any reason, and be immediately eligible to play . The Transfer Portal is a database of players interested in transferring from their current school.
The offseason shakeup comes less than two weeks after the end of a disappointing, injury-plagued year. Maryland, which started the season ranked fourth in the nation, finished tied for third in the Big Ten conference and failed to win a Big Ten tournament game for the first time in program history. .
After two impressive NCAA Tournament wins, the Terps lost in the Sweet 16 for the second straight season, falling to top seed Stanford. Maryland last passed the round of 16 in 2014-15, when they made their third Final Four appearance under Frese.
Reese and Owusu are perhaps the most high-profile departures from a program accustomed to weathering surprising personnel losses.
Reese, a Baltimore native who played at St. Frances, was the Terps’ best player last season. She averaged 17.8 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, best on her team, and shot 50% from the field in 32 games for Maryland (23-9, 13-4 Big Ten). She was the first Terp to average a double-double since Angie Scott in 1975 and scored 27 times in double figures.
Reese, a McDonald’s All American in high school, was the No. 2 overall prospect for the Class of 2020 — the highest-ranked recruit in program history — and the No. 1 wing, according to ESPN. She led St. Frances to three consecutive Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championships and was named the Baltimore Sun All-Metro Player of the Year in 2019-20.
Owusu, the 2020 Big Ten Rookie of the Year and two-time Big Ten Tournament Most Valuable Player, announced her departure on social media, citing “events that have unfolded on and off the court this year.” .
She averaged 14.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game in three seasons while shooting 45.7% from the field and was the second highest scorer (14.3 points per game ) behind Reese last season.
Slowed by an ankle injury, Owusu finished with career lows in shooting percentage (.424) and assists per game (3.7) this season. She also scored just four points in the Sweet 16’s loss to the Cardinals and didn’t play the final six minutes, sidelined by what Frese called a stomach bug.
In Owusu’s transfer announcement, she did not acknowledge the team’s coaching staff.
“We wish these student-athletes the best as they continue their basketball careers and education elsewhere,” Frese said in a statement late Tuesday. “Every team has been hit by the transfer portal at both ends. Maryland basketball is bigger than any roster or person. Our staff is committed to bringing the best student-athletes to Maryland.
Collins, who played high school with Owusu and transferred from Tennessee in 2019, started 15 games last season and played in all 32. She averaged 7.9 points and 4.8 rebounds and struggled to building on her 2020-21 freshman season at College Park, when she earned All-Big Ten honorable mention after averaging 10.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
Kozlova played 21 games last season and averaged 1.3 points per game. Lewis, who battled serious knee injuries throughout his career at Maryland, did not play this year.
“Nobody expects the kind of adversity we’ve had this year,” Reese said ahead of the Terps’ season-ending loss to Stanford.
After the game, in which Reese had 25 points and nine rebounds, she tweeted, “We’ll be back, I’ll be back, TRUST ME.”
She retweeted news of her entering the transfer portal on Tuesday but did not issue a statement and did not respond to a request for comment. On Wednesday, she tweeted, “I’m not committed and haven’t chosen a school yet! Please respect my privacy, space and peace! Thank you!”
Reese’s brother Julian, also a former St. Frances star, averaged 5.4 points and 4.4 rebounds on 45.6 percent shooting as a freshman for the Maryland men.
Their mother, Angel, a former UMBC star who did not respond to multiple requests for comment, retweeted a video Tuesday night of Julian diving at Maryland’s Xfinity Center and wrote, “Still a Terp Mom indicating that Julian plans to stay with the program under new coach Kevin Willard.
Reese and Owusu aren’t the only high-profile players to leave Maryland’s women’s program in recent years.
Guard Taylor Mikesell, one of the nation’s top 3-point shooters and the 2019 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, transferred to Oregon in 2020 and later to Ohio State. Standout center Shakira Austin, who is expected to be one of the WNBA’s top draft picks this month, also left College Park in the offseason for Mississippi, where she reunited with former assistant coach Terps. , Shay Robinson.
In 2017, WBCA National Rookie of the Year Destiny Slocum transferred from Maryland to Oregon State. Forward Kiah Gillespie, another former McDonald’s All American, left this offseason for Florida State after two quiet years with the Terps.
A total of seven rookies ranked in the top 50 of the ESPN rankings have transferred from Maryland since 2017.
Prior to that, guard Lexie Brown left Maryland for Duke in 2015 after earning third-team AP All-American honors and advancing to the Final Four.
According to Athleticism, more than 1,000 women’s basketball players can be found on the transfer portal, including many of the country’s top players. Of the 24 women who dressed up for the 2019 McDonald’s All American Game, 13 have since entered the transfer portal, including Owusu.
South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, who led the Gamecocks to their second national title on Sunday, last week called the transfer process “way, way, way, way, way out of control.”
“Sometimes you have to leave. Sometimes it’s the right thing to do; there’s no doubt about it,” Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said during the Final Four. “But 800, 1,000 of them? There are only 365 Division I schools.
Christy Winters-Scott, former Maryland women’s basketball star and current color analyst for ESPN, The Big Ten Network and other networks, said the transfer portal has “gone quite the monster.”
“I just know it’s hard for everyone involved,” she said. “It is difficult for the children, the parents [and] the universities. … You really don’t know what you’re leaving for and what you’re going to do.
Frese, who turned to the portal two years ago to help build one of the best offenses in the country, landed the transfer from Florida Lavender Briggs in January. Briggs, a guard, is expected to help lead the Terps next season along with Miller and guard Shyanne Sellers, who impressed as a rookie to win the Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year award.
Benzan, who arrived from Harvard in 2020 with Bibby, a transfer from Mississippi State, wrote on Instagram Tuesday that she was overflowing with love, gratitude and appreciation for my two years at UMD and coaching [Frese].”
She added: “My teammates, my sisters for life. Thank you for accepting me as I am, always being there when I needed you, and making all of this (covid, the bubble, back pain, foot pain, tears after losses, late nights, early mornings) is worth it! I support you forever and ever.
Baltimore Sun reporter Ryan McFadden and Baltimore Sun Media reporter Katherine Fominykh contributed to this article.