It’s not usually that Stanford and the switch portal are talked about in the identical breath; till now, and never for the explanations Cardinal followers may hope.
Three Stanford ladies’s basketball gamers — freshman heart Lauren Betts, junior guard Agnes Emma-Nnopu and freshman guard Indya Nivar — have all entered the switch portal lower than three weeks faraway from the crew’s early exit within the second spherical of the NCAA Event.
On Friday afternoon, Betts’ resolution was the primary to be introduced. The 6-foot-7 heart entered school rated because the No. 1 participant within the nation within the class of 2022 in keeping with each ESPN HoopGurlz and Prospects Nation. In her one season on the Farm, Betts posted 5.5 factors per recreation in simply 9.7 minutes per contest. She scored her career-high 18 factors within the second recreation of the season, versus Cal State Northridge.
Simply hours after it was introduced Betts had entered the portal, information broke that her teammate Emma-Nnopu had accomplished the identical. The junior has had an illustrious Stanford profession, successful the NCAA Championship in her freshman yr to associate with three common season Pac-12 titles and two Pac-12 Event Championships. Though recognized for her protection, Emma-Nnopu made strides on the offensive finish this previous yr, averaging profession highs in factors per recreation and 3-point proportion with 3.2 and 42.6%, respectively.
Because the weekend progressed, issues didn’t bode properly for Stanford. Nivar’s resolution reached the media on Saturday, tallying the third Cardinal to enter the portal in simply two days. The 5-foot-10 guard completed highschool as a five-star recruit and logged 12.6 minutes per recreation this previous season.
The sudden outflow of Cardinal into the switch portal raises a number of questions. No stories have indicated any unifying issue for the three gamers’ resolution to enter the portal. Traditionally, few Cardinal have departed the crew by way of means aside from graduating. Final offseason, guard Jana Van Gytenbeek transferred to Baylor, marking the primary undergraduate to go away Stanford early in years. If Betts, Emma-Nnopu and Nivar in the end go away, this offseason will mark an much more vital interval of turnover for a program that didn’t carry out the way it wished this previous yr.
Stanford’s early NCAA Event loss in March, their earliest elimination since 2007, concluded a season that many felt fell in need of expectations. Simply two years faraway from an NCAA championship, the crew suffered upset losses to a number of unranked Pac-12 opponents within the common season and didn’t seem within the Pac-12 Event Closing for the primary time since 2016. Moments of offensive stagnation and disarray uncharacteristically hindered the crew all year long, making them unrecognizable as a Tara VanDerveer squad at occasions.
Seniors Ashten Prechtel, Fran Belibi and Haley Jones are gone, with Jones declaring for the WNBA draft as properly. It helps that senior Hannah Bounce can be returning to make use of her closing yr of eligibility, however First Group All-American and the crew’s main scorer, junior Cameron Brink, would be the solely different senior rostered subsequent yr if Emma-Nnopu leaves.
How VanDerveer will change these minutes has but to be decided — Betts, Emma-Nnopu and Nivar all contributed significant minutes, and their departures received’t quantity to nothing. Three gamers — all top-40 recruits — are dedicated to affix the crew subsequent yr: Courtney Ogden, Nunu Agara and Chloe Clardy. In 2021, Jordan Hamilton ‘22 grew to become the primary graduate switch in program historical past; nonetheless, the portal has gone largely unused below VanDerveer exterior of Hamilton.
For a crew making an attempt to return to nationwide championship rivalry, how VanDerveer and this system reply to those departures very properly might decide whether or not or not they’ll be enjoying late into subsequent season.