Miami’s Cornelius foregoes final year of eligibility to pursue pro career

Laura Cornelius pursues the next chapter.

It’s become the routine in men’s basketball to discuss “who goes, who stays” for each college program. The conversation around female athletes is just starting to become common. Miami’s Laura Cornelius is one of the women pushing that discussion, as she has opted to forego her final season with the Hurricanes to pursue professional basketball.

“It is a dream of Laura’s to play professionally and I truly support that. She has given her heart and soul to the University of Miami and to our team,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said in a press release from the school. “Laura has tremendous international experience and had an amazing career for us here in the ACC, the best league in the country. I have been so blessed to share her four-year journey with her. While I will miss her a great deal, I’m very proud of her, both personally and professionally.”

Cornelius will finish her degree in May, graduating from Miami with a bachelor’s degree in public health, but has eligibility remaining after redshirting last season.

She had extensive experience in international basketball in her native Netherlands before coming to Miami. Her U20 team became the first Dutch team–male or female–to win a top-level medal at European Championships when they took the bronze in 2015. She also spent several years playing for CTO Amsterdam in the Netherlands’ Women’s First Division, where she was an All Star in 2014.

At Miami, she has been the co-captain of the Hurricanes twice while starting 40 games and making 98 appearances over her three years on the court. The 23-year-old ended her college career averaging 8.8 points, 3.2 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game, but had career highs in 2018-19. In her final year, those averages jumped to 10.1 ppg, 4.1 apg and 3.4 rbg.

The Hurricanes went 25-9 this season and 12-4 in the difficult ACC. They bowed out of the ACC Tournament in the quarterfinals, where they lost to Syracuse 92-85, but entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 4 seed. Their season ended in a 57-55 defeat at the hands of Arizona State.

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