Connecticut’s next winning streak won’t involve Natalie Butler.
On Wednesday, the school announced that redshirt junior Natalie Butler is transferring to George Mason next season. Butler will complete her undergraduate studies in May. As a graduate transfer, Butler will be eligible to play for George Mason immediately.
“I have really enjoyed getting to know Natalie and her family,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said in a statement published by the university. “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.”
Butler was a member of UConn’s roster for two seasons after starting her college career at Georgetown. She only started one game in that span, but she was part of UConn’s historic championship run in 2016. This past season, Butler played in all but one game, averaging 5.4 points and 5.0 rebounds, including a double-double against South Florida in the American Athletic Conference championship.
Athletically speaking, George Mason is a stark contrast to what Butler experienced at UConn. The Patriots finished 13-17 and lost to Duquesne in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament. However, Butler’s background and 6-foot-5-inch frame offers a welcome boost, especially with George Mason losing Kara Wright to graduation. Wright was the team leader in scoring and rebounding.
Butler’s departure likely won’t diminish UConn’s potency. The Huskies boast the second best recruiting class in the nation, according to ESPN HoopGurlz.