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SEC WBB Portal Rundown: Top transfers to know in April

On3 imageby:Matthew Brune04/18/24


The arms race in the SEC is here.

The additions of Texas and Oklahoma, two high-level NCAA Tournament teams, to the conference have only added to the urgency in women’s college basketball down south. South Carolina just went undefeated on the way to another national title, Kim Mulkey and LSU aren’t going anywhere, and now Vic Schaefer and Texas are poised to be a top five team yet again.

That’s before even getting to the rest of the conference. Kentucky hired Kenny Brooks from Virginia Tech. Coach Yo at Ole Miss just went 12-4 in the SEC and is hungry for more. Tennessee has its new head coach. Mississippi State, Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn are always competitive, and Oklahoma won the Big 12 regular season title last year.

I think that catches you up on where the SEC is right now in the women’s basketball landscape. With 11 days since the end of the season and roughly a month since the portal opened, the movement has been hectic and it’s continuing to grow every day. I wanted to give a check-in on the biggest moves in the SEC over this time period so far and talk about the players you need to know for next year.

Let’s get into it.

Biggest additions

Mar 31, 2023; Dallas, TX, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Kenny Brooks, left, stands with guard Georgia Amoore (5) on the sideline in the game against the LSU Lady Tigers in the second half in semifinals of the women’s Final Four of the 2023 NCAA Tournament at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky: G Georgia Amoore (Virginia Tech)

Ole Miss: PG Deedee Hagemann (Michigan State), F Starr Jacobs (Arkansas Pine-Bluff)

Auburn: G Taliah Scott (Arkansas)

Missouri: W Laniah Randle (Southern Illinois), G Nyah Wilson (New Mexico)

LSU: F Jersey Wolfenbarger (Arkansas)

Alabama: W Zaay Green (Arkansas Pine-Bluff)

Arkansas: G Izzy Higginbottom (Arkansas State)

Mississippi State: W Eniya Russell (Kentucky)

My thoughts: Scott going from Arkansas to Auburn is a massive move in the conference. Scott averaged 22 points per game as a freshman and will be a 20+ point scorer every year of her career. She is ranked as the No. 17 player in the portal on ESPN, making Auburn a much more dangerous team. 

Obviously Georgia Amoore coming into the picture adds a ton of excitement for Kentucky. Amoore is the top ranked player in ESPN’s transfer portal rankings and will immediately make the Wildcats viable.

Then you have a lot of mid-major players who posted great numbers at their prior stops in Starr Jacobs, Missouri’s two additions, Zaay Green, and Izzy Higginbottom. We know how challenging the SEC is, so it remains to be seen how impactful those players are.

There will be more additions in the coming weeks. LSU, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State will all be aggressive in raising their talent level and filling out their rosters. There are several names I did not include on this list, since I wanted to keep it purely about the top players.

Notable departures

Texas A&M forward Janiah Barker (2) shoots near University of Mississippi forward Madison Scott (24) during the first quarter of the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C. Friday, March 3, 2023. Ole Miss Vs Texas A M 2023 Sec Women S Basketball Tournament In Greenville Sc

Texas A&M: F Janiah Barker

Missouri: PG Mama Dembele 

Kentucky: F Ajae Petty, G Maddie Scherr, W Eniya Russell

Texas: F Deyona Gaston, F Khadija Faye

LSU: G Hailey Van Lith

Alabama: G Aaliyah Nye

Arkansas: F Saylor Poffenbarger, G Taliah Scott

Mississippi State: G Darrione Rogers

My thoughts: Barker leaving Texas A&M is the biggest departure in the SEC so far, especially considering how important she was to that program as a former No. 3 overall recruit. Joni Taylor will have her work cut out for her to rebuild that roster this offseason. Barker is the No. 9 player in the portal on ESPN.

Hailey Van Lith is the No. 12 player in the portal on ESPN, Ajae Petty is No. 16, Saylor Poffenbarger is No. 19, Maddie Scherr is No. 20, Eniya Russell is No. 21, Mama Dembele is no. 24. At this moment, only Van Lith (TCU) Russell (Mississippi State) and Dembele (USF) are the only three who have committed so far. 

I also think Texas losing two talented forwards is something, albeit, Schaefer has plenty of options and talent in the frontcourt with Taylor Jones and Aaliyah Moore starting.

Lastly, Aaliyah Nye is a deadeye shooter and will leave a significant hole in Alabama’s roster and be a valuable piece wherever she ends up.

The SEC as a whole

South Carolina forward Ashlyn Watkins (2) blocks a shot by Louisiana State University center Aalyah Del Rossario (23) during the fourth quarter of the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament Championship game at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C. Sunday, March 10, 2024.

It’s going to feel different next year with Angel Reese, Kamilla Cardoso, and Rickea Jackson gone, but the overall level of the conference will raise and so will the urgency.

I expect South Carolina, Texas, and LSU to all be in the top 10, then Ole Miss and Oklahoma to be in the top 25 to start the year. We’ll have to see how the rosters look when they’re locked in, but this was a good first look at what the new SEC looks like in 2024-25.

The coaches are elite with Dawn Staley, Kim Mulkey, Vic Schaefer, Yolett McPhee-McCuin, Kenny Brooks, and Jennie Baranczyk. There won’t be a shortage of headlines or talent. The last three champions came out of the SEC and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if that streak continued.

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