New team, no problem: Ten transfers to watch in 2018–19
By Jenn Hatfield and Hunter Hames
When the 2017–18 NCAA women’s basketball season ended on April 1, teams and fans alike began studying their rosters and judging how their teams might fare in the 2018–2019 season. It’s a ritual that happens at the close of every season, or for some fans, before the season even ends. Yet, every offseason, rosters get shaken up by players transferring, making it hard to predict in April what a team will look like in September. Last year’s championship game featured 5 players (two from Notre Dame and three from Mississippi State) who began their careers at other universities before transferring to their respective schools. This offseason alone, 220 of the 349 Division I schools had at least one player transfer.
With the 2018–19 season just weeks away and the offseason transfer carousel largely settled, Her Hoop Stats identified ten transfers who could have a big impact on their new teams this season. (We only considered transfers who are eligible to play this season, either because they sat out the 2017–18 season or were granted immediate eligibility. Players such as Andra Espinoza-Hunter and Promise Taylor, both now with Mississippi State, and West Virginia’s De’Janae Boykin were not considered because the NCAA has not yet ruled on their eligibility for this season. Players are listed alphabetically.)
- Erin Boley, redshirt sophomore forward, Oregon (from Notre Dame)
2016–17 stats: 6.4 PPG, 2.8 RPG
The 6'2" sophomore was able to get a jump start getting acclimated to her new teammates when she joined fellow Oregon players Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard, and Oti Gildon in representing Team USA in the FIBA 3V3 World Cup. After shooting almost 40% from 3-point range in her freshman season, Boley instantly becomes a threat on a Ducks team that was #3 nationally in 3-point field goals and #2 in points per 100 possessions. A three-time Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year in high school, Boley will look to vault Oregon to the Final Four for the first time in program history.
- Receé Caldwell, graduate transfer guard, University of California (from Texas Tech)
2017–18 stats: 10.7 PPG, 6.0 APG, 2.9 RPG
The first graduate transfer in Cal Golden Bears history, Caldwell lands back in the state where her collegiate career began. After spending a year at UCLA, the California native spent 2 seasons at Texas Tech, leading the Red Raiders in scoring and assists per game in 2017–18 before sitting out the latter part of the season due to injury. Bears head coach Lindsay Gottlieb is more than familiar with handling gifted point guards after coaching the likes of Brittany Boyd and Layshia Clarendon, both of whom are now in the WNBA. Pair Caldwell at guard with the uber-gifted 6'4" C/F Kristine Anigwe (a 2017–18 AP All-America honorable mention with 16.7 PPG and 8.8 RPG), and that makes the Cal Golden Bears a team to be reckoned with in the Pac-12.
- Te’a Cooper, junior guard, South Carolina (from Tennessee)
2015–16 stats: 8.6 PPG, 2.1 APG
Cooper hasn’t played since the 2015–16 season due to a combination of NCAA transfer rules and injury. ESPN ranked her #12 in her class coming out of high school, and she made the SEC All-Freshman team in 2015–16. She could be primed for a big year for a team that needs her scoring punch (she averaged over 27 PPG in high school) and a head coach in Dawn Staley who has a reputation for developing players.
- Yacine Diop, redshirt senior guard, Louisville (from Pittsburgh)
2017–18 stats: 15.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.4 APG
Last season, Diop led Pittsburgh in rebounding and scoring, and she scored in double figures in 24 of 30 games. At Louisville, she will help fill the void left by the graduation of first-team All-ACC forward Myisha Hines-Allen, now a member of the Washington Mystics. Hines-Allen told Her Hoop Stats during the WNBA playoffs that Diop “is capable of doing everything that I did and even better. She’s super athletic, can run the floor, can play [positions two] through five.” That’s high praise, but if Diop lives up to it, the Cardinals will be well-positioned to make another Final Four this season.
- Kysre Gondrezick, redshirt sophomore guard, West Virginia (from Michigan)
2016–17 stats: 14.9 PPG, 2.8 APG, 42.9% 3-point shooting
Gondrezick, a second-team All-Big 12 selection as a freshman at Michigan, joins a Mountaineers team that made the WNIT semifinals last year. WVU graduated three of its top 5 scorers, but was picked third in the Big 12 for 2018–19 with the return of all-conference guard Tynice Martin from injury and the addition of Gondrezick. Gondrezick’s 42.9% 3-point shooting as a freshman bested that of any Mountaineers player last year (minimum 40 attempts). She’ll look to score in bunches for a team that scored a lot last year (102 points per 100 possessions; 50th nationally) and has even higher expectations this season.
- Anriel Howard, graduate transfer forward, Mississippi State (from Texas A&M)
2017–18 stats: 12.1 PPG, 12.2 RPG
3 years is all it took Howard to become the all-time leader in rebounds at a prolific Texas A&M program. The graduate student (who was ranked #7 nationally in rebounds per game in 2017–18) joins 6'7" 2017–18 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Teaira McCowan to form arguably the most formidable front court in the country. Howard’s transfer has received recognition around the league as well, as she was named to the preseason All-SEC team for the 2018–19. Bulldogs fans hope Howard is the missing piece for a Mississippi State team that lost in the national championship game in each of the past two seasons.
- Chloe Jackson, redshirt senior guard, Baylor (from Louisiana State University)
2017–18 stats: 18.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.3 APG, 2.0 SPG
Baylor’s frontcourt is loaded this year behind All-American Kalani Brown and 2018 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Lauren Cox. But head coach Kim Mulkey needed more backcourt options, particularly to run the point. In Jackson, Mulkey got an experienced, All-SEC caliber player who ranked in the top 5% of players nationally in minutes, points, and steals per game last year. At Big 12 media day, Brown bet on Jackson to emerge as the team’s starting point guard. Whether that prediction comes true, and how effectively the Lady Bears’ guards get the ball to Brown and Cox down low, could determine whether this team makes its first Final Four since 2012.
- Mariya Moore, redshirt senior guard, University of Southern California (from Louisville)
2016–17 stats: 12.0 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.9 APG
Moore, a three-time All-ACC honoree and a California native, will play her final collegiate season at USC alongside her sister Minyon. In her three seasons at Louisville, Mariya scored over 1,000 points and ranked fifth in the Cardinals’ record books in made 3-pointers (211). She averaged double-figure scoring every year and notched a triple-double as a junior. Her outside shooting will be a huge boost to a USC team that shot less than 30% from deep last season (247th in the nation).
- Destiny Slocum, redshirt sophomore guard, Oregon State (from Maryland)
2016–17 stats: 11.5 PPG, 6.0 APG, 37.4% 3-point shooting
The 2016–17 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s (WBCA) National Freshman of the Year and Big Ten Freshman of the Year had a stellar rookie campaign at Maryland, where she broke the Terrapin freshman records for assists and three-point field goals. Coming to an OSU team that is accustomed to sharing the ball and was ranked #7 nationally in assists per game during the 2017–18 season, Slocum will be relied on for her facilitating, but her offense might be the biggest X-factor for this team. Slocum’s ability to push the ball and her leadership on the floor will be much needed for the Beavers, who lost their leading scorer and rebounder last season in Marie Gülich.
- Danni Williams, graduate transfer guard, Texas (from Texas A&M)
2017–18 stats: 14.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG
A teammate of Anriel Howard’s last season, Williams set records (71 3-pointers in a single season) at Texas A&M herself before deciding to play her last year of eligibility elsewhere. The Longhorns will welcome not only her senior leadership, but more importantly, the production she will provide from 3, as they lost both Brooke McCarty (former Big 12 Player of the Year) and Ariel Atkins (a 3-time All-Big 12 selection) to graduation. Picked in the preseason as the conference’s Newcomer of the Year, Williams’s quick trigger and ability to spread the offense should help keep Texas in the hunt for its first Big 12 title since 2003.