As another women’s basketball season draws to a close, Boston College yet again has begun to see a number of players entering the transfer portal. Rising junior Maria Gakdeng and rising sophomore Taina Mair have both reportedly entered the portal, and rising sophomore Ally Carman announced her intent to transfer on her Instagram.
The Eagles were supposed to enter a new era when Joanna Bernabei-McNamee took over the program in 2018, and have had some major successes in the following years, including being one of the last teams out for the 2021-22 NCAA Tournament after going 19-10 during the regular season.
Despite some on the court successes, however, the program has seen a number of transfers over the past few years. While a good chunk of these transfers have been players who were not going to see a ton of playing time at BC, the Eagles have also lost many top players from the program.
In 2019 Jenasae Bishop transferred to Wright State, Lana Hollingsworth transferred to Santa Clara, and Kate Klimkiewicz transferred to Richmond. None of these transfers felt like huge deals, as none of the athletes had received much playing time at BC.
In 2020, Bernabei-McNamee had her first big deal transfer, as Mimi Bolden-Morris transferred to Georgetown. Bolden-Morris would later speak about her time at BC, sharing that she felt pressured by the coaching staff to lose weight and ended up developing an eating disorder. Sydney Lowery also transferred out that season, and ended up at Fairfield.
2021 saw only one transfer, as Sydney McQuietor headed to Boise State after only playing in 2 games for the Eagles.
The 2021-22 season was a big one for BC transfers, starting with Allie Palmieri leaving the program midseason. Palmieri ended up at Seton Hall. Then, in the midst of BC’s WNIT run, it was announced that Makayla Dickens and Jaelyn Batts were entering the transfer portal. Dickens and Batts were not present for BC’s final game of the season, and ended up transferring to Old Dominion and Northeastern respectively. Dickens was one of BC’s top players her senior season, and at the end of the year she was joined by fellow top seniors Taylor Soule, Marnelle Garraud, and Cam Swartz in leaving BC to use their COVID years elsewhere. Soule, one of the ACC’s top players, is now on Virginia Tech and is playing in March Madness. Garraud transferred to Vanderbilt, and Swartz (who initially transferred from Colorado to BC) ended up at Georgia Tech. Clara Ford, an important bench player for the Eagles, also used her final year of eligibility to transfer, joining Soule at Virginia Tech.
This season continues the concerning trend of multiple top players leaving the program, made worse by the fact that these are underclassmen instead of COVID year players. While Carman saw limited playing time during her freshman season and understandably may want to transfer somewhere where she can get off the bench more, Gakdeng and Mair were both starters and would have been starters next season. They were the top 2 scorers on the team (with 374 and 367 points respectively), Gakdeng led the team in rebounds (214) and blocks (58), and Mair led the team in assists (217). Mair’s transfer in particular feels worrisome, as she grew up in Boston and came into BC with the narrative of being a local kid who wanted to help bring the program back to greatness.
The most charitable reading of these big name transfers would seem to be that the players either aren’t buying into what the coaches are giving and don’t think the team can be a postseason contender (despite narrowly missing the NCAA Tournament in 2021-22), and/or that they don’t believe BC is giving the program the resources it deserves. One would think, however, that the new basketball facility would be of help on at least the latter point.
As it stands now, BC will return 3 seniors (Dontavia Waggoner, JoJo Lacey, and Kaylah Ivey), 2 juniors (Ally VanTimmeren and Andrea Daley), and 3 sophomores (T’Yana Todd, Kayla Lezama, and Ava McGee). BC’s 2023 signing class is comprised of NeNe Ndiaye, Jayda Johnson (who missed the end of her high school season with an injury), and Lili Krasovec. This would give BC a roster of just 11 players, which is particularly concerning considering that the team did struggle a bit with injuries this season, including Ivey missing the entire year.
Assuming nobody else transfers out, Lacey will be BC’s top returning scorer (329 points, 3rd on the team this season) and assist-maker (69 assists, 2nd on the team), Daley will be the top returning rebounder (212 boards, 2nd on the team), Waggoner will be the top returning player in terms of steals (she led the team with 70 this season), and Lacey and Daley will be tied for blocks having both made 19 this year.
We will continue to update readers as we learn more and as transfer season continues.