It’s déjà vu for North Carolina women’s basketball.
After the team’s first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2015, and with just one graduating senior in Paris Kea, the program seemed ready to turn the corner after a several-year slump.
But for the second time in four years, multiple players are transferring from the program.
Stephanie Watts, Destinee Walker an Jocelyn Jones will all pursue transfers to other schools, as first reported by Mary Dunleavy at WRAL.
Watts was a starter for the Tar Heels this year as a redshirt junior, but missed the final six games of the season with an injury after missing the final five games of her sophomore season and all of last season with an injury. The former ACC Freshman of the year and five-star recruit averaged 15.2 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game this season.
Walker confirmed on her personal Instagram account that she would be graduating in May and also pursuing a transfer. The redshirt junior has one year of eligibility remaining and would likely be able to play immediately next season as a graduate transfer. Walker played only 39 minutes for the Tar Heels this season after being an ACC All-Freshman in her first year and averaging 12.4 points per game in her sophomore year. The former top-25 high school recruit sat out her junior year with an injury.
Jones, a redshirt sophomore, was one of only three Tar Heels to play in every game this season. The redshirt sophomore averaged 3.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. The former No. 33 high school player and McDonald’s All America nominee was never a regular member of the UNC starting rotation in her two years of playing. She redshirted her first year with an injury. She is graduating in three years, allowing her to use the graduate transfer option alongside Watts and Walker.
In the summer of 2015, UNC lost the final three members of its No. 1 ranked 2013 recruiting class to transfer. Three sophomores, including two All-ACC players, left the program that year. National Freshman of the Year and All America player Diamond DeShields had transferred after her first year in Chapel Hill.
This kicked off an NCAA tournament drought that was just snapped this year. UNC advanced to the NCAA tournament after posting two top-10 victories during the season. Cal eliminated them in the first round.