The Syracuse women’s basketball team is having a uniquely chaotic postseason.
Nearly the entire 2021 roster has elected to transfer, sparking unprecedented turnover.
Of the 12 players who chose to enter the transfer portal, four were suspended from the team during the ACC tournament for violating Syracuse’s COVID-19 rules. It’s been suggested that clashes over the pandemic-related protocols led to some players’ decisions to leave the program.
Coach Quentin Hillsman addressed the situation last week, reassuring the media that the team was “not in panic mode.” He did not provide any specific explanations for the various transfers but suggested he was looking for players with a championship mentality.
The Orange have not advanced past the second round of the NCAA Tournament since 2016, when they lost to UConn in the championship game.
A record number of players have entered the Division I transfer portal this year. Due to the pandemic, the NCAA granted seniors an extra year of eligibility and transfers the ability to play immediately for their new schools.
The departure that is likely to have the biggest ripple effect is that of Kamilla Cardoso, the Brazilian center who was the fifth-ranked prospect in the Class of 2020 and Syracuse’s second-leading scorer this past season.
There are some bright spots ahead for the program. Hillsman will welcome the No. 11 recruiting class in 2021 and has picked up four transfers already in USC’s Shalexxus Aaron, Texas Tech’s Naje Murray, Arizona State’s Eboni Walker, and Howard’s Jayla Thornton.