The UConn women’s basketball team announced on Wednesday that Natalie Butler will transfer to George Mason to pursue a postgraduate degree. She will be eligible immediately with one year remaining.
“I would like to thank Coach Auriemma, the coaching staff and my teammates for a great opportunity and learning experience,” said Butler in the release. “I've had the opportunity to play at an elite level and learn from the best.”
After beginning her career at Georgetown, where she earned Big East Rookie of the Year honors, Butler transferred to UConn and sat out the 2014-2015 season per NCAA rules. The following year, she missed the first 10 games of the season after injuring her wrist during the preseason.
This past season, Butler struggled for playing time and was often limited by matchups. The Huskies have starters Napheesa Collier and Gabby Williams returning while Kentucky transfer Batouly Camara and freshman Lexi Gordon join the rotation. Butler’s already-limited minutes were only going to shrink further and she made a decision to transfer somewhere she could play on a consistent basis.
“I understand why she has decided to transfer to George Mason and am happy that she will be able to play right away while pursuing her postgraduate degree,” said head coach Geno Auriemma. “We’ll miss Nat and everyone at UConn wishes her all the best in the future.”
UConn will need to replace Butler’s production on the boards as she finished with the third-most rebounds on the team, averaging 5.0 per game. At 6-foot-5, Butler brought size that the rest of the team lacked and would match up against the bigger players on opposing teams.
Geno Auriemma will likely use 6-foot-6 Duke transfer Azura Stevens to guard the taller players while Camara, Gordon and sophomore Kyla Irwin should be able to supplant her rebounding production. With Butler’s departure, the Huskies now only 13 players on scholarship for next season.