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Former five-star prospect Olivia Owens transfers to UK; 6-foot-4 center spent two seasons at Maryland

Olivia Owens, a five-star prospect and one of the best centers in the nation coming out of high school in 2018, has transferred to the University of Kentucky.

A 6-foot-4 center and native of Albany, N.Y., Owens spent the past two seasons at Maryland.

“We are so excited that Olivia has chosen to be a Kentucky Wildcat and cannot wait to get her on campus and working with our team and staff,” said UK head coach Matthew Mitchell. “She obviously has a lot of intangibles that you cannot teach, like elite size and strength in the post, which is going to help us tremendously.

Olivia Owens

“Our staff enjoyed getting to know her and her family through this process and are eager for that relationship to grow in the future. I really like how our roster has come together and I’m looking forward to getting the team back on campus again soon.”

Owens began her collegiate career as one of the best post prospects in the nation, ranking as a five-star recruit by ESPN.com, which also tabbed her the fifth-best post in the 2018 class and 34th-best player overall. All-Star Girls Report ranked Owens as the No. 26 overall player in the class after she was tabbed a Women’s Basketball Coaches Association High School All-American honorable mention and McDonald’s All-American Game nominee.

A star at Niskayuna High School, Owens was a USA Today All-New York first team honoree and was named the team’s MVP her junior season after averaging 20.6 points and 12.3 rebounds. As a senior, Olivia became only the second player in school history to score 1,000 career points. She also scored 42 points in a game, which set a conference record.

Owens played in 16 games as a freshman at Maryland before missing last season due to medical issues. As a freshman, Owens made 55 percent of her shots from the field.

One of her best outings was in the Big 10 championship game in which she played six minutes and scored four points with four rebounds to help the Terrapins win the title. She also grabbed three rebounds and scored two points in Maryland’s NCAA Tournament first-round win against Radford.

Owens will join two other highly touted transfers that decided to make Kentucky home this offseason in Tennessee transfer Jazmine Massengill and Auburn transfer Robyn Benton. All three players will be on the roster in 2020-21 but will have to sit out the year due to NCAA transfer rules. Massengill and Benton both became Wildcats in April.

Despite the departure of five seniors, the Wildcats return a large portion of their production for the 2020-21 campaign. Kentucky is led by first team All-American Rhyne Howard, who finished second nationally in scoring last season with 23.4 points per game. She also made a school-record 84 3-pointers last season.

Also returning is guard Chasity Patterson, who averaged 11.5 points in 19 games last season. Blair Green also returns after averaging 5.8 points per game. In the post, UK returns KeKe McKinney, who averaged 6.5 points and 4.7 rebounds, and Tatyana Wyatt, who averaged 5.5 points and 3.7 rebounds. Guard Emma King also returns after playing in 15 games last season.

From University of Kentucky

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