Four Kentucky women’s basketball players enter transfer portal

Cole Parke

Four Kentucky womens basketball players announced they will be entering their names into the transfer portal over a four day stretch.

On Friday, current senior point guard Jazmine Massengill, junior forward Dre’una Edwards and sophomore guard Treasure Hunt all declared their intentions to search for new homes in the coming season.

If all three find different schools as expected, it will be the second time both Edwards and Massengill will have transferred in their careers, with Massengill starting her career at Tennessee and Edwards starting hers at Utah.

Massengill, who was the starting point guard for the team this season, averaged seven points per game with 3.6 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game.

Massengill transferred to Kentucky prior to the 2020-2021 season as a junior after being a consistent starter for the Tennessee Lady Vols her sophomore year.

She played in 19 games her junior year, starting in eight, before starting in all 30 games she played in her senior season.

Massengill, despite being a senior, will look to make an impact as a graduate transfer on whatever team she decides whether that be stepping up into a more aggressive scoring role or continuing her role as a ball-handler and high assist point guard.

Edwards, likely most known for her game winning 3-pointer over No. 1 South Carolina to win the first SEC Championship at Kentucky in 40 years, transferred to Kentucky prior to the 2019-2020 season but sat out due to the NCAA policies regarding transfers that had not yet been changed.

Edwards played her freshman season at Utah, starting in 26 games and averaging 11.6 points and 6.7 rebounds to earn Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors.

After finally having the opportunity to take the court in the 2020-2021 season at Kentucky, as a redshirt sophomore, Edwards played 27 games with 11 starts averaging 9.7 points per game and 6.1 rebounds per game.

Edwards took a significant jump this season, averaging 16.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, including 11 double-doubles on the season.

Despite the impressive numbers, Edwards also served two suspensions during the season, possibly contributing to the decision to transfer.

While the first was a simple one game suspension for academic standing, the second was much more notable with viewers wondering at times if she would ever return.

Following the blowout losses against No. 1 South Carolina and then No. 5 Tennessee in January, Edwards was absent in Kentucky’s home game against Florida for “disciplinary reasons.”

She would go on to miss four games, including not traveling with the team to two separate road games. The timing of her suspensions also meant that she did not play in either of Kentucky’s two games inside Rupp Arena.

Though the road was sometimes rocky, the loss of Edwards is a big blow to Kentucky, who will need to look to build up a replacement fast.

Edwards will look to be a strong rebounder and steady scorer at whatever team she chooses, even possibly continuing to work on her 3-point shot that improved throughout her junior year.

The only Wildcat to have been recruited by and chosen Kentucky first, Treasure Hunt, averaged 6.9 points per game as well as 4.6 rebounds per game, getting the call as a starter in every game she played except the first against Presbyterian.

Hunt never quite fit into Kentucky head coach Kyra Elzy’s scheme, ultimately seeming to decide that she needed a different environment to thrive as a player.

She also had connections to both star guard Rhyne Howard and Jazmine Massengill, playing on the same high school team as the latter and AAU ball with the former.

Hunt, while not having her numbers pop off the page, is another tough blow for Kentucky, with the younger guard having shown signs of development even in her short tenure and looking to be a strong piece of the UK roster in her junior and senior seasons.

Later, on Monday, Kentucky center Olivia Owens announced on Twitter that she was departing the women’s basketball team to transfer to law school.

“I will be a proud Kentucky Alumnus and will always carry blue in my heart,” Owens said in her Tweet. “With bittersweet emotions, I will be leaving Kentucky, but to pursue my career as a future attorney. Therefore, I am entering the transfer portal as a grad transfer. Thank you BBN! It was a privilege.”

Owens transferred to Kentucky as a redshirt sophomore from Maryland, and was granted immediate eligibility for the 2020-2021 season, making her the third player leaving Kentucky to have transferred in prior.

As a redshirt sophomore Owens played in 25 games, earning five starts, and averaged 4.4 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.

She remained on the team as a redshirt junior, playing in 28 games with nine starts, with the bulk of her starts coming during Kentucky’s injury heavy 1-8 skid from early to mid January until early February.

Owens averaged 3.1 points and three rebounds per game in an average of 13 minutes on the court.

At Kentucky, Owens majored in US culture and business practices, though per her announcement, she will be pursuing her dream of being an attorney at the college to which she chooses to transfer.

With Howard also leaving the team for the WNBA Draft, Owens became the fifth Wildcat, out of a total of 10, from last season’s roster that will not return to the team in the fall.

Regardless, Owens seemed to wish to make it clear that there were no issues within the program to lead to her departure, but rather that her dream of practicing law was the main motivating factor in her decision to leave.

“I am so blessed and grateful to be apart of BBN and all that we’ve accomplished,”  Owens wrote. “I want to thank my coaches for loving me and guiding me on and off the court. I’d like to thank the staff for the constant encouragement and support. I want to thank my teammates for two great years. And most importantly, thank you Big Blue Nation, for welcoming me and loving me.”

With the losses, Kentucky head coach Kyra Elzy is back on rough waters preparing for next season after becoming just the second coach at Kentucky to bring home an SEC title.

All four transfers are tough losses for a Kentucky team that will already be searching for a proper identity in the absence of Howard, who dutifully led the team for her historic four seasons in blue and white.

Elzy has put together a solid recruiting class for the upcoming season, though it’s yet to be seen how the team will function with so much of its veteran influence gone, as what was once a disappointing end to an otherwise impressive turn-around of a season has now been overshadowed with even more question marks for the future.