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What went wrong for star transfer Ashley Owusu at Virginia Tech

Ashley Owusu did not appear for Virginia Tech in the 2022-23 postseason. (G Fiume/Getty Images)

Ashley Owusu came to the Virginia Tech women’s basketball team as a star transfer. But almost a year after she entered the portal, her season ended in infighting with her Hokies teammates and with Owusu reentering the transfer portal.

How did the once-promising partnership reach the breaking point? Just Women’s Sports presents a timeline of Owusu’s year with Virginia Tech, from her transfer announcement to the social media stir after Friday night’s Final Four loss to LSU.

April 5, 2022

The 6-0 guard announced via Twitter her decision to leave Maryland after three seasons.

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

After her sophomore season with the Terrapins, she won the Ann Meyers Drysdale award as the top shooting guard in the country, which Iowa’s Caitlin Clark has won this season. In her junior season, she averaged 14.3 points and 3.7 assists per game. But she elected to spend her senior season elsewhere.

April 30, 2022

“Wassup Hokie Nation,” Owusu wrote in an Instagram post, revealing her destination for the 2022-23 season.

She joined Virginia Tech as one of the top transfers of the offseason. “I love it here,” she tweeted on July 3, and she echoed the same sentiment on Instagram with a video of herself practicing with her new team.

Nov. 7, 2022

In her first game for Virginia Tech, Owusu featured in the starting lineup, posted 9 points, 4 assists and 2 rebounds in 28 minutes in a 101-45 win against Mount St. Mary’s.

Nov. 27, 2022

The senior guard scored a season-high 21 points in 26 minutes in Virginia Tech’s 89-28 win against Longwood.

Dec. 1, 2022

Owusu broke her pinkie finger in the first quarter of the Hokies’ 85-54 win against Nebraska. She had started the first seven games of the year for her new squad, but the injury and subsequent surgery kept her out of the lineup for the next seven weeks.

“Very unselfish — she never really tried to go outside of what we were doing, just trying to figure it out,” Virginia Tech coach Kenny Brooks told ESPN in December following the injury. “She had some games where she was a little bit in a lull because she was trying to figure it out, and then you kind of see — unfortunately for us — right before she got hurt, she was starting to figure it out.

“I thought she was going to get on a roll and then she gets hurt.”

Jan. 19, 2023

In her first game back from her injury, Owusu played 21 minutes of the bench, scoring 5 points on 2-for-8 shooting. She did not play as many as 20 minutes again for the rest of the season.

Feb. 26, 2023

In Virginia Tech’s regular-season finale, a 65-52 win against Georgia Tech, Owusu played just five minutes and did not score. She would not play again for the Hokies, remaining on the bench for the entire postseason.

Two days before this game, she tweeted “freee meee” in response to a video of her playing for Maryland.

March 3, 2023

The Hokies played their first game of the ACC Tournament, but Owusu did not appear in the 68-42 win against Miami. When asked after the game what she needs to do to get back on the court, she redirected the question to Brooks.

“I’m not sure,” she said. “You’ll have to ask him.”

Virginia Tech went on to win the tournament title, but Owusu did not play in any of the three games.

Brooks told The Roanoke Times that his team found its identity while Owusu was working her way back from injury.

“Everybody can just look and see and tell that we’ve got things going in a tremendous direction,” Brooks said. “[The injury] was an unfair situation — not only for her but for us because it usually takes transfers a little while to get used to your system. And the time they’re usually getting used to it, she was out.

“During that time, we formed a different identity — one that probably would’ve been different if she were healthy and playing.”

March 31, 2023

No. 1 seed Virginia Tech made a historic run to the first Final Four in school history. During the semifinal contest, a fierce battle with No. 3 seed LSU, Owusu sat on the bench with her team in the first half but did not return to the bench after halftime in the eventual loss.

The team said Owusu “was not feeling well,” The Next’s Mitchell Northam reported. But in response to a tweet asking after Owusu’s whereabouts, teammate Kayana Traylor tweeted, “hmm idk check the lsu bench.” Traylor’s post was retweeted by several teammates, including Elizabeth Kitley and Taylor Soule.

Ashley’s father Emmanuel Owusu responded to Traylor’s tweet, writing: “Maybe you should the truth about how he hasn’t spoken to several kids in the team for months. How about the special group chat the coach has with 7 of the kids.”

Owusu’s former Maryland teammate Angel Reese, who now stars for LSU, tweeted after the game, “FREE MY DAWG @Ashleyyowusu15,” to which Virginia Tech guard Cayla King replied, “She’s been free.”

Brooks and his players were not asked about the apparent tension between Owusu and her teammates at the postgame press conference, though simmering tempers seemed to boil over on Twitter in the aftermath of the loss.

April 4, 2023

Owusu entered the transfer portal after the end of the season, Virginia Tech confirmed to ESPN. She has one year of COVID-19 eligibility remaining.

Her decision to enter the portal represents a reversal from her stance in early March, when she told The Next she planned to go pro rather than return for a fifth year.

Barcelona to Face Lyon in Champions League Rematch This Weekend

UEFA Women's Champions League Final"Barcelona FC - Olympique Lyonnais"
Saturday's game will be the third UWCL final meeting for Barcelona and Lyon, having previously gone up against each other in 2019 and 2022. (ANP via Getty Images)

The UEFA Women's Champions League final kicks off in Bilbao on Saturday, with a couple of familiar foes set to face off for the trophy.

Olympique Lyonnais Féminin, making its 11th final appearance since 2010, will go head to head with a Barcelona side making its fourth final appearance in a row.

This will be the third time these two teams meet in the UWCL title game, having previously appeared in the 2019 and 2022 finals. Lyon won both of those prior games against Barcelona, alongside a total of eight Champions League trophies. That’s double that of any other club, with Eintracht Frankfurt coming in a distant second with four. 

Should Barcelona win, this would be the team's third title — breaking a tie for the third in the UWCL total titles race. 

But as these teams return to the UWCL final, it also marks the end of an era for both clubs. The game will be the last for both club managers, as Barcelona’s Jonatan Giráldez and Lyon’s Sonia Bompastor depart for new jobs after the season's end.

Giráldez is set to leave for the NWSL's Washington Spirit, while Bompastor will take over for incoming USWNT coach Emma Hayes at Chelsea. Both coaches have earned one UWCL trophy during their tenures, while Bompastor also brought two Champions League trophies to Lyon as a player. She was the first coach to win a UWCL trophy as both a coach and player.

This season, Barcelona is looking for its first quadruple, having won a fifth Liga F title alongside the Copa de La Reina, and the Spanish Supercopa. 

"We hope he can go out with the four trophies because we know how competitive and ambitious he is," Barcelona midfielder Patri Guijarro told ESPN. "It has been a winning era with him in charge and for him to go out with all four trophies would be historic and incredible."

But Lyon's Damaris Egurrola is excited about her team's chances of overcoming Barcelona once again — and to do it in front of family and friends.

"Lyon have something special," she told Forbes ahead of the weekend's final. "We have a great team and we have the players with enough talent to win any match."

The game will be a homecoming for Egurrola, who began her professional career with Athletic Bilbao.

"I’ve been thinking of this day and night," she said. "I’ve been dreaming of playing this match. Having the opportunity to play in San Mames is amazing. This is where it all started for me."

The UEFA Women's Champions League final kicks off Saturday, May 25th at 12 PM ET and is free to stream on DAZN.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek Headlines a Stacked 2024 French Open

Iga Swiatek serves against Coco Gauff during the group stage of the 2023 WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico
Iga Swiatek serves against Coco Gauff during the group stage of the 2023 WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico. (Robert Prange/Getty Images)

The 2024 French Open starts on Sunday, with a match schedule that promises to wrap the short clay court season up in style.

Looking for her fourth title at the major is three-time Roland Garros champion and World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, considered the favorite to win the whole Slam. Three of her four major titles have come at the French tournament. 

Swiatek's career record at the French Open is a dominating 28-2, and she's currently on a 16-game winning streak fueled by victories at tune-up tournaments in Madrid and Rome.

But that doesn't mean she won't face some serious challengers along the way. Get to know some of the Polish tennis champ's strongest competitors.

Aryna Sabalenka

Sabalenka is ranked No. 2 in the world and faced Swiatek in the finals at both Madrid and Rome. She lost in three sets in Madrid, which included a close third-set tiebreak, before losing in straight sets at the Italian Open. 

She enters the French Open having won the Australian Open in January, successfully defending her title in the first Slam of the season. At last year’s French Open, Sabalenka reached the semifinals — a career best — before being ousted by Karolina Muchová in three sets.

Season record: 25-7

Coco Gauff

Currently sitting at No. 3 in the world, the highest-ranked American on the schedule is none other than Coco Gauff. Gauff won her first major at the US Open last year, and reached the semifinals of this year’s Australian Open. She faced Swiatek in the semifinals of the Italian Open last week, losing in straight sets. 

But her first major final came at the French Open in 2022, before being ousted by Swiatek in the quarterfinals at last year’s French Open. The two are on a crash course for a meeting before the finals, as Gauff anchors the other quadrant on Swiatek’s side of the draw, should they both advance deep into the competition.

Season record: 25-8

Chicago Sky Upset New York to End Liberty’s Unbeaten Streak

chicago sky's angel reese on the court against new york liberty
Angel Reese registered a near double-double against a strong Liberty side. (Evan Yu/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Liberty’s unbeaten streak came to an end on Thursday as Angel Reese and the Chicago Sky got the upset win over New York with a final score of 90-81. 

Angel Reese stood out with a near double-double, registering 13 points and nine rebounds. She’s currently the only rookie this season to exceed 10 points in her first three games, and the first player in Sky history to begin their career with three consecutive double-digit scoring games, per ESPN Stats & Info.

The outcome may not have come as a surprise to Liberty stars Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones, who sung Reese’s praises ahead of the game.

"She’s a workhorse," Stewart told The Post. "She doesn’t stop. She’s tough, she’s strong, she’s tough to box out and good at cleaning up for her team offensively and defensively."

"I feel like she’s an energizer bunny," Jones added. "She doesn’t stop moving, she doesn’t stop crashing the boards. Just someone that is gonna be relentless in her approach to getting to the glass and playing tough."

It was the first time Chicago has met New York this season. The game was especially meaningful for new Chicago head coach Teresa Weatherspoon, who led the Liberty for seven years as a player and joined the team's Ring of Honor in 2011.

"This place means a lot to me... I played in that jersey, I adored that jersey, I adored every player that I had an opportunity to play with. The love that I received even today was overwhelming," Weatherspoon reflected after the game.

Following the win, Sky guard Dana Evans had some kind words for her coach.

"I mean, it's just special. She's special," Evans said. "She just breeds confidence in each and every one of us. We love her. We just wanted to go so hard and play hard for her, and I feel like this one was really for her. We really wanted this for her more than anything."

Thursday's victory brings Chicago's record to 2-1, a somewhat unlikely feat given that their offseason featured starter Kahleah Copper getting traded to Phoenix. The Connecticut Sun are now the only undefeated team left in the league this season, and will formidable foes for the Sky as they take their winning streak on the road to Chicago this weekend.

New USWNT Coach Emma Hayes Embracing the Challenge

United States Women's Head Coach Emma Hayes
The ex-Chelsea skipper has officially arrived in the US — now it's time to get down to business. (USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

Emma Hayes has officially begun her tenure as USWNT manager ahead of the team’s June friendlies.

Hayes made the rounds on Thursday, appearing on the Today Show and speaking with select media about her goals and underlying principles with the team. It’s a quick turnaround for the decorated coach, who just won the WSL with Chelsea last weekend.

One thing that she won’t do, however, is shy away from the high expectations that come with managing the US. The squad is looking to reinstate its winning reputation at the Paris Olympics this summer following a disappointing World Cup in 2023. 

"I know the challenge ahead of me. There is no denying there is a gap between the US and the rest of the world," she told ESPN. "We have to acknowledge that winning at the highest level isn't what it was 10 years ago. It's a completely different landscape. And my focus is going to be on getting the performances required to play at a high level against the very best nations in the world."

While Hayes was formally hired six months ago to lead the USWNT, her deal stipulated that she remain with Chelsea through the conclusion of their season. In her stead, Twila Kilgore has led the team, with the coach "drip feeding subliminal messages" to the roster on Hayes’s behalf.

"It's a bit ass-upwards," Hayes joked to reporters. "I know about the staff, and the team, and the structure behind it. We got all of that. Now it's time, I need to be with the team."

With Olympics now just two months away, Hayes dropped hints this week regarding her thought process behind building the roster, saying there’s still time for players to make their case.

"You can't go to an Olympics with a completely inexperienced squad. We need our experienced players, but getting that composition right, that's my job between now and June 16th," she said on the Today Show.

"What I can say from my time [in the US] is, I've always loved the attitude towards performance and the expectation to give everything you've got," she later affirmed to reporters.

And as for winning gold?

"I'm never gonna tell anyone to not dream about winning," she added. "But… we have to go step by step, and focus on all the little processes that need to happen so we can perform at our best level.

"I will give it absolutely everything I've got to make sure I uphold the traditions of this team."

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