By Andrew Callahan, Staff Writer
Following her absence from the team’s Monday night road game at No. 10 North Carolina, freshman forward Samarie Walker has declared her intent to transfer from UConn. In a statement given by Walker, she thanked head coach Geno Auriemma for the opportunity to play but admitted she had struggled with ‘giving the team the energy and commitment it needs to be successful’.
While talking to the press after Thursday afternoon’s practice, Auriemma remarked among many things that Walker is a ‘good, nice kid’ who ‘can be a real good player if she wants to’. Auriemma felt confident going forward with just seven players that see regular action on his team, saying that specifically won’t determine the level of success they have going forward. During her stay in Storrs, the 6-foot-1 Walker averaged 6.2 points, 5.8 rebounds over 18.8 minutes of play.
Replacing Walker’s contributions on the court will fall solely to her former teammates that see consistent minutes as no one Husky currently sitting on the bench is ready to step up. Redshirt sophomore center Heather Buck remains alarmingly inconsistent, freshman forward Lauren Englen shows flashes of brilliance but can struggle mightily and freshman center Michaela Johnson is not yet ready for play.
Walker’s roommate and current starting center Stephanie Dolson said that she didn’t talk to Samarie much about her decision and wished her the best of luck. She couldn’t admit to being terribly surprised but stated that they would remain close friends. Dolson, due to the similarity in her and Walker’s game, will most likely have to shoulder the largest individual load going forward.
Veteran forwards Maya Moore and Tiffany Hayes echoed Dolson’s sentiment while also commenting that avoiding personal foul trouble becomes a slightly greater point of emphasis. Moore and Hayes are the current leading scorers for the Huskies by a considerable margin.