The transfer portal is a double-edged sword. Great for contending teams to add that last piece to content for a championship, or detrimental to a team trying to elevate their program. Purdue women’s basketball has fallen under the latter category.
Since the end of the season, Purdue has now seen four players put their names in the NCAA Transfer portal ahead of next year. Jeanae Terry, Mide Oriyomi, Brooke Moore, and Ra Shaya Kyle will all be taking their talents to new schools in the coming months. On top of that, seniors Nyagoa Gony, Ajah Stallings, and Rokia Doumbia are not returning either. However, Oriyomi, Gony, Stallings and Doumbia did not have very big roles on the court this season.
This is similar to last season when Karissa McLaughlin, Tamara Farquhar, Fatou Diagne, Kayana Traylor, and Bria Harmon all transferred out of the program.
That is now a staggering 9 players who have transferred in the span of close to a year at Purdue. From the outside looking in, there does not appear to be disdain between players and coaches, rather a new era of Purdue basketball is here.
Throw in that who these girls committed to playing for retired just before the season started, it should come as less of a surprise that the numbers are so high. Regardless, seeing so many players leave the program is not great for what Katie Gearlds and this program are trying to build back up.
The trio of Brooke Moore, Ra Shaya Kyle, and Jeanae Terry are all huge losses for this team. Terry was the leading rebounder and led the team in assists last season, while Brooke Moore was the team’s third-leading scorer as well. Replacing a talent like Terry will be tough as there are not many players in the country who can match her skill set. Moore was a plug and play scorer for the Boilermakers, who could get hot in an instant and drop 20+ on any given night.
Kyle’s departure is a bit more complicated. After her leg injury early in the season, there was optimism that she would return in late December or early January. Those plans clearly did not work out as the 6’6 sophomore played in just 9 total games. Rickie Woltman and Ava Learn improved as the year progressed and turned into a nice little 1-2 punch in the frontcourt. Kyle has immense talent and will do extremely well in another setting next season.
So, where does Purdue go from here?
The Boilermakers still return several key pieces from the 2021-22 squad that improved their win total by 10 from the year prior. Abbey Ellis, Cassidy Hardin, Madison Layden and Woltman all figure to stay in the starting lineup to keep the cohesion together. Along with Learn, Jayla Smith is also returning for her sophomore season and is a candidate to start next year as a 2-3 wing type player. Their other classmate, Skye Williams, did not play this season while dealing with an apparent injury, but is talented and will play a large role in the rotation too.
Aside from any transfer options, Purdue has three players incoming for next season as freshmen in Addison Potts, Lilly Stoddard, and Ainhoa Holzer in the class of 2022. Potts and Holzer should be prevalent parts of the backcourt early on next year off the bench and both have well-rounded games. Stoddard is another post presence to bring depth behind Woltman and Learn as well.
Much like last season bringing in several transfers, they will have to do the same this season to keep up in the loaded Big Ten. It will be interesting to see how many or even if Purdue will secure transfers for next year after losing so much production from an encouraging season.