Transfer frenzy erupts in Syracuse women’s basketball program

Transfer frenzy erupts for SU women's basketball

Ten players, including Kiara Lewis and Emily Engstler, all enter the transfer portal just days apart.
Published: March 29, 2021 | Updated: April 1st, 2021 at 10:19 am
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Emily Engstler entered the transfer portal on Friday, March 26. The junior has been joined by eight other players including Kiara Lewis, Amaya Finklea-Guity, Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi, Digna Strautmane, Faith Blackstone, Taleah Washington and Lauren Fitzmaurice.

Following the Syracuse women’s basketball team’s second round loss in the NCAA Tournament last week, ten players entered the transfer portal and the team picked up a transfer in return.

At the top of the list, and perhaps most surprisingly, is 2020-21 season standout Kiara Lewis. Named All-ACC Honorable Mention, Lewis started in all 24 games for the Orange this season, averaging 37.1 minutes per game, and led the team in scoring, tallying 14 points per contest.

Another surprise was Emily Engstler, who also threw her hat into the ring. Averaging 10.5 points and 9.1 points on the season, earning ACC Co-Sixth Player of the Year honors, and making her impact known in both the ACC and NCAA Tournaments, the junior would have been a strong role model as the only senior among a sea of freshmen and sophomores.

There seem to be no hard feelings between Engstler and head coach Quentin Hillsman though, as both were quick to share a Twitter post following the announcement.

No reason was given as to why either player is seeking a transfer, but they will join at least eight other Orange players in the portal.

Amaya Finklea-Guity, Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi, Digna Strautmane, Faith Blackstone, Taleah Washington, Lauren Fitzmaurice, who did not play in the 2020-21 season, Maud Huijbens and Khamya McNeal have all announced their potential departure from the team as well. The new total leaves just five players from last year’s roster.

Underclassmen Blackstone, Washington and McNeal were two of the four members suspended for Syracuse’s ACC and NCAA tournament runs this season due to a violation of team rules. Kiara Fisher completed the four-player Orange suspension but has not entered the transfer portal.

Earlier this month, the ACC announced the removal of the intraconference transfer rule. The rule required student-athletes to sit out a full season after transferring to a different school in the same conference.

The Orange picked up Shalexxus Aaron, a 6-foot-1 transfer guard from USC, on Saturday, who will be eligible to play next season due to the removal of the rule.

In her 12 games on the court this season for USC, the redshirt sophomore registered an average of 6.5 points per game and will have two more years of eligibility.

The NewsHouse will update as more information becomes available.