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Syracuse women's basketball has now lost 12 players to the transfer portal: 'We’re in a good place'

Ryan Young
·Writer
·3-min read
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Though he insists that they’re “in a good place,” Syracuse women’s basketball coach Quentin Hillsman may have a problem.

ACC defensive player and rookie of the year Kamilla Cardoso announced Thursday that she has entered the NCAA’s transfer portal, marking the 12th Orange player to leave the program this offseason.

Hillsman has been at Syracuse since 2006, and just wrapped up his 15th season with the program last month after a second-round loss in the NCAA tournament to top-seeded UConn.

He addressed the mass exodus on Tuesday, before Cardoso’s decision to transfer.

“We’re in a good place and we’re not in a panic mode,” Hillsman said, via Syracuse.com. “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.”

Cardoso, who came to Syracuse from Brazil, averaged 13.6 points and eight rebounds last season for the Orange. She was the No. 5 overall recruit in the class of 2020, according to ESPN, and the highest-ranked recruit in Syracuse women’s basketball history.

12 Syracuse players transferring

Cardoso joins 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 in seeing a transfer. Five of them have committed to other ACC schools.

Hillsman said Tuesday that half of those departures were shocking to him, and that he thinks some of it is simply “pure attrition.” He did not get into specifics about any player’s decision to transfer, but said that some of them just wanted to play elsewhere in the country and others wanted to pursue a graduate degree.

“Most conversations don’t go where they sit down with you with a laundry list of things on why they’re leaving,” Hillsman said, via Syracuse.com. “They come in. We talk.

“Some don’t talk. Some just say, ‘I want to move on to a different situation or different school.' ”

Priscilla Williams, Ava Irvin and Teisha Hyman are now the only three players still on Hillsman’s roster from last season. He has already secured four players from the transfer portal, however.

“For us, it’s about being athletic, it’s about wanting to come in every day and work and more importantly, just wanting to be here,” Hillsman said, via Syracuse.com. “That’s all we’ve talked about from day one. It’s just having players that want to be here and the transfer portal has allowed people to make some decisions to move on, and there are a wide variety of reasons on why people have chosen to move on.”

Syracuse Orange coach Quentin Hillsman
Syracuse Orange head coach Quentin Hillsman insists they aren't in "panic mode" after losing 12 players to the transfer portal this offseason. (William Howard/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

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