ACC defensive player and rookie of the year Kamilla Cardoso will transfer from Syracuse, becoming the 12th player to seek a transfer from the program this offseason.
Emily Engstler, Kiara Lewis, Digna Strautmane, Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi, Amaya Finklea-Guity, Taleah Washington, Lauren Fitzmaurice, Kiara Fisher, Faith Blackstone, Khamya McNeal and Maud Huijbens all decided to enter the transfer portal after Syracuse lost to UConn in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Syracuse women's basketball coach Quentin Hillsman held a press conference on Tuesday, prior to Cardoso entering the portal, to address the state of the program.
“We’re in a good place and we’re not in a panic mode,” Hillsman said. “What’s happening right now is this portal across the country is becoming this thing where if you have nobody in the portal, then your program’s fantastic. If you got people in the portal, then you’re in trouble. We’re not in that state.”
He added that some of the players who chose to leave were a surprise while others weren't. Lewis, Strautmane, Djaldi-Tabdi and Finklea-Guity were seniors with the option to return next season.
Engstler will transfer to Louisville while Lewis, Syracuse's leading scorer over the past two seasons, is headed to Clemson. Finklea-Guity will transfer to Duke, and Djaldi-Tabdi will head to Miami, marking four players transferring to other ACC schools.
“I have no issues with that,” Hillsman said. “Those are the rules. They can choose to go where they want to go. I think a lot of it is schools who’ve recruited you from the beginning so they’re familiar with some of these schools as well, just like some of the players that we’re bringing in, probably 90% of them we’re familiar with them from the previous recruiting process. I view it as a compliment.”
Even with the mass exodus from the program, Syracuse has secured four players through the transfer portal—former USC guard Shalexxus Aaron, former Howard guard Jayla Thornton, former Arizona State forward Eboni Walker and former Texas Tech guard Naje Murray.