Sports, Winter, Basketball, Women's Basketball

BC Center Maria Gakdeng Enters Transfer Portal

Boston College women’s basketball sophomore center Maria Gakdeng entered the transfer portal on Monday, a source confirmed to The Heights

“Thank you to my family, coaches, teammates, and friends at Boston College for constantly pouring into me,” Gakdeng wrote on Twitter. “The love and support as I’ve navigated challenges and celebrated great success is undeniable. Although it’s been a great two years, I have decided to enter my name into the transfer portal.”

Gakdeng and BC head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee declined to comment to The Heights.

Gakdeng was one of BC’s most impactful players this season on both ends of the court, averaging 11.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. She started all 33 games this season and played the third-most minutes on BC’s roster.

Gakdeng’s sophomore campaign followed up a strong freshman year during the 2021–22 season, in which she was named to the All-ACC Freshman Team. She started 32 out of 33 games as a freshman—the most by a freshman since Carolyn Swords during the 2007–08 season.

The Lanham, Md. native had a standout performance in BC’s regular-season finale at Wake Forest, posting a season-high 22 points, six rebounds, four assists, and four blocks in the Eagles’ 73–63 victory. Gakdeng also recorded the second-most blocked shots in BC history with 131 blocks in just two seasons, trailing only Swords’ 178. 

One of the most reliable rebounders on BC’s roster, Gakdeng registered four double-digit rebound games and three double-doubles during her sophomore year. 

Gakdeng’s departure continues a trend of players transferring from BC in recent seasons. At the end of the 2021–22 season, seven BC players opted for the transfer portal, including key players Taylor Soule, Cameron Swartz, Marnelle Garraud, and Makayla Dickens.

Following the 2019–20 season, former BC player Milan Bolden-Morris transferred out of the program, and she spoke out about her experience in Chestnut Hill, citing that she battled mental health challenges during her time with BC. 

Gakdeng’s decision also comes on the heels of BC Athletics Director Blake James’ letter to the BC community in which he encouraged more support for name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals for student-athletes. James cited the importance of NIL opportunities in order to retain premier collegiate athletes in today’s NCAA landscape. 

No other Eagles have entered the transfer portal at the time of publication, but BC will certainly need to replace the hole left by Gakdeng. Ally VanTimmeren is the only forward or center on BC’s roster with over 205 minutes played this season.

March 16, 2023