Following the worst season in Wendy Schuller’s 19 years as head coach, three Eastern Washington women’s basketball players have entered the NCAA transfer portal, including the Big Sky Conference’s leaders in rebounds and assists.
Sophomore forward Bella Cravens, sophomore point guard Jessica McDowell-White and reserve freshman guard Trinity Golder have opted to leave the program after EWU’s 4-26 campaign.
EWU reached the Big Sky Conference Tournament title game in 2018-19, when Cravens and McDowell-White were key in the Eagles’ run.
Cravens, a 6-foot-3 Hawaii native, had a Big Sky-best 8.5 rebounds per game this past season, ranked fifth in blocks (47) and averaged 10.7 points. She was honorable mention on the All-Big Sky team.
A season after being named to the All-Big Sky Tournament team as a freshman, McDowell-White led the Big Sky in assists (5.4 per game), led EWU in steals (40) and averaged 8.7 points per game.
Golder, a former Bonners Ferry and Sandpoint High star, played sparingly last season, totaling 29 minutes.
“I really enjoyed having them,” Schuller said of her departed players. “You anticipate those big junior and senior years, and it’s disappointing we won’t get to see them here.
“But we’re excited about our future, and ready to move forward with players who want to be here and want to be Eagles.”
Schuller had one of the youngest teams at the NCAA Division I level last season, starting three sophomores and two freshmen.
“There’s over 400 players in the Division I portal. It’s easy to leave nowadays,” said Schuller, whose EWU teams earned postseason invitations in 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2017. “Times are different. When you start looking at all the schools that are losing kids, you don’t feel as bad.”
This isn’t the first noticeable exodus in Schuller’s career.
Following a 2015 season in which the Eagles finished 22-12 and reached the second round of the WNIT, five players left the program. EWU went 20-12 the following season and finished in a three-way tie for second in the Big Sky standings.
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