October 30, 2020 

ESPN’s No. 1-rated transfer declared eligible for 2020-21 season

Forward Shakira Austin to play for Ole Miss Rebels

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The Ole Miss Women’s Basketball team continues to make big news ahead of the 2020-21 season.

The school announced Thursday that Shakira Austin, ESPN’s No. 1 rated transfer, had been ruled immediately eligible by the NCAA to play. Austin, who transferred from Maryland this past spring, is a 6-foot-5 forward who was a key part at national powerhouse Maryland before transferring.

At Maryland she played in 66 games and started in 47 during two Big Ten championship runs in 2019 and 2020. She helped the Terrapins go a combined 57-9 overall during that time.

Austin, a communications major from Virginia, broke Maryland’s single-season blocks record with 89 her freshman season. She was also on the 2019 All-Big Ten Freshman and Defensive Teams and 2020 All-Big Ten Second Team. She was also named to the 2019-20 Preseason Lisa Leslie Award Watch List, which is given annually to the top center in the nation. Coming out of high school, Austin was a McDonald’s All-American and ranked as the #4 overall prospect in the 2018 class.

“We are extremely happy about the opportunity Shakira has been given this year,” Ole Miss Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin said in a prepared statement. “I’d like to thank Coach Frese and the University of Maryland for their assistance with this. Kira will be able to impact us immediately in every aspect, and we are excited for her and us.”

Austin will see a familiar face on the Ole Miss coaching staff. Former Maryland assistant coach Shay Robinson was hired earlier this year in the same role at Ole Miss. In each of his six seasons at Maryland, the Terrapins made NCAA Tournament appearances including a Final Four appearance in 2015.

McPhee-McCuin begins her third season with Ole Miss and has assembled one of the SEC’s highest-profile signing classes.

Austin is joining four freshmen that were ranked as ESPN’s No. 1 signing class in the SEC and No. 13 in the nation. Those highly-ranked freshmen include five-star prospects Jacorriah Bracey (Drew, Mississippi/Thomas E. Edwards High School) and Madison Scott (Indian Head, Maryland/Bishop McNamara High School), as well as Snudda Collins (Brookhaven, Mississippi/Brookhaven High School) and Caitlin McGee (Jacksonville, Florida/Sandalwood High School). McGee enrolled at Ole Miss this past spring and joined the team after graduating high school early.

Ole Miss has also added junior college transfer and three-point specialist Tiya Douglas and freshman Aleah Sorrentino, who reclassified to the 2020 class and enrolled at Ole Miss one year early. Douglas broke the TVCC single-game record and tied the NJCAA record with 13 three-pointers in a 44-point performance in her freshman season.

Ole Miss finished the Covid-shortened 2019-20 season at the bottom of the SEC with a 7-23 overall record.

Written by Dorothy J. Gentry

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