Transfer Adebayo hoping season with UConn women's basketball team will lead to big things

Published on Thursday, 11 July 2019 21:01
Written by Carl Adamec

Journal Inquirer

Evelyn Adebayo will spend one season with the UConn women’s basketball team but has no intention of being a one-and-done when it comes to the game.

That’s why the 6-foot-1 forward will use her final year of eligibility with the Huskies.

“I want to play for as long as possible, whether that’s in the WNBA or in Europe,” Adebayo said. “I think they’ll help me do that here.”

Adebayo is the first graduate transfer for UConn coach Geno Auriemma.

She went to high school at Barking Abbey School in London, England, and played for Great Britain in the 2015 U-20 European Championships. After spending two unspectacular seasons at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina, she transferred to Murray State in Kentucky.

It was with the Racers that she took off. She led the Ohio Valley Conference in scoring (18.2) and rebounding (11.4) and set a school record with 19 double-doubles as Murray State finished 13-17. She earned all-OVC first team and newcomer team honors.

But after graduating from Murray State, where she majored in business administration with an emphasis in finance, she put her name in the transfer portal and was soon contacted by the Huskies.

“I spoke to the coaches and I had great conversations about my goals and what I wanted,” Adebayo said. “They invited me here for a visit. I met the team and coaches and I loved the environment, the area. Everything felt right.

“It’s a dream to be here. To end up at UConn. … I can’t explain how it all happened but they wanted me here for a reason. For me, this decision was a no-brainer. It just felt so natural and perfect. Deciding to come here was the perfect choice for me.”

The Huskies needed depth and needed size looking ahead to 2019-20 and Adebayo hopes to provide both.

She’ll get the opportunity with two-time All-American and American Athletic Conference Player of the Year Napheesa Collier now in the WNBA with the Minnesota Lynx. Collier became the first UConn player since Rebecca Lobo in 1994 to average a double-double a season ago.

“Being a new player is never easy because you don’t know what to expect,” Adebayo said. “You don’t know how everything works. But at the same time I’m older and experienced. I’m still learning. I think I’ve adjusted well.

“If I give them everything that I have every day I feel I can contribute. I know what I can bring to the team and I’m going to do all I can to help them. I believe the way I play will help them.”

Adebayo, who will be pursuing a masters degree in sports management here, said she is working her way into “UConn shape” as she goes through the summer.

The Huskies made their 12th consecutive NCAA Final Four appearance a season ago but saw their season end in the national semifinals for the third straight season when they lost to Notre Dame at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. They reached the 35-win plateau for the seventh straight year.

UConn will again be the prohibitive favorite in what is expected to be its final year in the AAC before it returns to the Big East.

Adebayo had 28 points last season against the Lady Vols for Murray State.

She’s capable.

“The way I play, the rebounding, the passing, the shooting it’s a lot of go-go-go,” Adebayo said. “At the this level I want to make sure that I can do it well.”

Posted in The Bristol Press, UConn on Thursday, 11 July 2019 21:01. Updated: Thursday, 11 July 2019 21:03.