Maryland star Ashley Owusu enters transfer portal

Shockwaves swept through Maryland’s women’s basketball program on Tuesday with the news that Angel Reese and Ashley Owusu — the Terrapins’ two leading scorers — will enter the transfer gate.

A person familiar with Reese’s decision confirmed the departure of the sophomore, the highest-ranked recruit in program history, on Tuesday night. Owusu, the team’s second top scorer, tweeted her transfer plans on Tuesday morning.

Reese, a guard/forward from Baltimore, averaged 17.8 points for the Terrapins. Owusu, a junior guard from Woodbridge, Va., averaged 14.3 points.

“We wish these student-athletes the best as they continue their basketball careers and education elsewhere,” coach Brenda Frese said in a statement to The Washington Post. “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.

The Terps also lost reserves Taisiya Kozlova and Channise Lewis at the transfer gate. Kozlova was the ninth player to come off the bench in her sophomore year, and Lewis did not play in a game as a graduate student.

The departures came on the heels of a disappointing 2021-22 season for the Terrapins, who started the campaign with national title hopes but failed to win a game in the Big Ten tournament and were fired from the NCAA tournament in the Sweet 16 for the second straight season.

In a tweet announcing his move, Owusu referred to “events that happened on and off the pitch.”

“I never started anything that I didn’t finish, and finishing was the plan when I decided to come to College Park,” Owusu wrote. “My goal was to have a great career here and win a national championship alongside an incredible team. I could imagine my jersey hanging in the rafters at the Xfinity Center.

“Unfortunately, the events that have transpired on and off the court this year have led me to make the very difficult but necessary decision to pursue my education and my basketball career elsewhere.”

Reese didn’t make a statement, but she retweeted the information on Twitter. She was named to the All-America Third Team and All-Big Ten First Team that season, while also averaging 10.6 rebounds. The Baltimore native entered the program as the No. 2 recruit for the Class of 2020. After missing most of her freshman season with a broken foot, she started all but one game this season and was the #1 option in Frese’s attack.

After the disappointing end to the season, Reese tweeted, “We’ll be back, I’ll be back, TRUST ME. His brother Julian Reese has just completed his freshman year on the Maryland men’s basketball team.

Owusu, who played Paul VI at Fairfax County, endured a junior season that was a step backwards after being named to the America’s Third Team and Big Ten First Team as a sophomore. She earned at least a share of Big Ten Tournament Most Valuable Player honors as a rookie and sophomore and led the team with 17.9 points per game her sophomore year. Owusu’s numbers dropped in every category except three-point percentage, and she shot just 42.4 percent from the field.

The offense moved on using Reese as the No. 1 option in the position instead of playing with Owusu, who suffered an ankle injury and missed five games late in the season. Owusu finished the regular season coming off the bench before returning to the NCAA Tournament starting lineup. She averaged 22 points in the first two rounds of the tournament before going out of sync and scoring four points in the season-ending loss to Stanford.

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Frese must now replace four starters ahead of next season, with guard Katie Benzan and forward Chloe Bibby having exhausted their eligibility.

Owusu entered Maryland and ranked the No. 1 point guard in the country according to ESPN and an all-American McDonald’s. The change likely ensures that Shyanne Sellers, the Big Ten’s sixth player of the year and freshman team selection, enters the starting lineup. Guard Diamond Miller is the only other starter expected to return.

The pair continue the trend of top players being transferred from the Maryland program. Frese lost Taylor Mikesell (Oregon, then Ohio State), Shakira Austin (Mississippi) and Olivia Owens (Kentucky) two offseasons ago.

The transfer portal was a topic of discussion during the NCAA Final Four last week. Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said he understands players are leaving all the time, but questioned some of the decision-making behind the moves. There were reportedly 850 players on the portal last week.

“Do you know those 850 people on the portal? Three hundred of them will not find a school to go to because they will realize that is not the school they just left,” Auriemma said. “Like last year, right?” A thousand kids in the portal, 250 of them had nowhere to go, and the guys they left behind don’t want them back. What happened to go and figure the hell out?

“Yeah, sometimes you have to leave. Sometimes it’s the right thing to do. No questions about this. But 800, 1,000 of them? There are only 365 Division I schools. That’s like three in each school.

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South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, who became the first black coach on either the men’s or women’s side to win two Division I national championships on Sunday, called the process “way, way, way, way, way out of control.” . She acknowledged that some players haven’t signed up to sit on the bench for three seasons and want the opportunity to pursue college or professional goals. There are plenty, however, who play big minutes and keep pushing forward.

“The Portal is a lot like social media,” Staley said last week. ” It’s the fashion. It’s a great fashion that continues to continue. There are more people on the portal than there are scholarships.

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