It has already been an eventful offseason for the Purdue Women’s Basketball program, to say the least. After the school announced Katie Gearlds would be named Associate Head Coach in 2021-22, then take over the reins as the head coach in 2022-23 as Sharon Versyp’s contract ends, the program suffered two key losses.
Karissa McLaughlin and Kayana Traylor both announced via Twitter that they will enter their names in the NCAA Transfer Portal with the full intent of leaving the school for greener pastures. This is a tough blow for Purdue, as these women were arguably the two most talented and proven players on the roster.
Thank you Boiler Nation! pic.twitter.com/fB5XnSGIei— Karissa McLaughlin (@Kmclaughlin12) March 26, 2021
McLaughlin was hampered by injuries this season and I got the sense she would move on after things just have not worked out for her in recent years here. She had her best season as a sophomore scoring 15 points per game while dishing out 3.8 assists but was unable to match that success in her junior nor her injury-shortened senior season. In 2020-21, she mustered only 7.5 points, 1.7 assists, and 1.3 rebounds over 23.5 minutes per contest.
As she begins a new chapter, her 244 made three-pointers stand as an all-time record for the program and had a chance to break Carsen Edward’s record of 281 had she stayed another year. She graduated in December with a degree in Selling and Sales Management, thus becoming a graduate transfer at her next stop.
Possibly the more impactful transfer is Kayana Traylor compared to McLaughlin. While McLaughlin was out this season, Traylor picked up her play and became Purdue’s go-to option out of the backcourt. Although it was a rough season, Traylor shined and appeared to be one of the bright spots moving forward, but this is now not that case.
After averaging 6.6 points and 3.4 assists per game over her first two seasons, she took a massive jump to lead the team in points, assists, minutes along with free throw makes and percentage this year. She finished with a line of 15.0 points, 3.9 assists, and 2.8 rebounds in a career year from the junior guard. In her best game as a Boilermaker, Traylor dropped a career-high 31 points on 10-20 shooting from the field while adding 4 rebounds and 5 assists against Michigan State on February 21, 2022.
Traylor was among three Purdue players to receive Big Ten Honors as she was named All-Big Ten 2nd Team by the coaches and Honorable Mention by the media.
Both of these women were proud Boilermakers and embodied what it meant to play at Purdue. They are a couple of brutal losses for the program who will also be without Fatou Diagne and Tamara Farquhar as they graduate. Sharon Versyp and Katie Gearlds will have their work cut out for them heading into next season. Thank you to Kayana and Karissa and good luck wherever their journey might take them. Boiler Up.