ACC

Duke’s Kyra Lambert enters transfer portal after getting sixth year of eligibility

DURHAM, N.C. – When Duke’s women’s basketball team takes the court next season, a valuable veteran will be missing from its back-court.

Kyra Lambert has entered the transfer portal, a source familiar with the matter said Friday.

Lambert has been at Duke since the 2015-16 season, but has battled various injuries along the way. She was listed on Blue Devils’ roster all season long as a graduate student, but a Duke spokesperson confirmed that she had been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, which allows her to play next season.

She will be a graduate transfer and will be eligible to play immediately for her new team.

High Post Hoops reached out to Lambert for comment, but she had not immediately responded as of Friday evening.

The native of Cibolo, Texas wrote on Instagram: “I can’t believe my time at Duke has come to an end… I couldn’t be more proud of my team and what we’ve fought to accomplish. This season was historic. Our story wasn’t finished, but we can only control what we can control.”

Lambert underwent three knee surgeries at Duke to repair the ACL in her left knee after initially tearing it in an NCAA tournament game on March 18, 2017. She missed all of what would’ve been her natural junior and senior seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

But in Duke’s first game this past season, she returned to the court with a bang. Two years, seven months and 18 days after injuring her knee, she stole an inbounds pass before the halftime buzzer and swished a 60-foot shot against High Point.

As the season went on, Lambert regained her quickness, her tenacity on defense and her three-point shot. She was a leader for the Blue Devils and also a weapon. She averaged 5.8 points, 3.3 rebounds,1.6 assists and 1.2 steals per-game while playing an average of 25.4 minutes per-contest over 30 appearances – 21 of which were starts.

Her three-point shooting (.338) and free throw (.739) percentages were both third-best on the team. Lambert’s steady hand helped guide the offense and her basketball IQ was key to their defensive schemes.

Prior to losing their ACC tournament quarterfinal against Boston College, Duke had won 11 of its final 14 regular season games, a stretch that included a pair of wins over rival UNC and victories over ranked Florida State and N.C. State squads. Lambert started every game during that run.

In his mock NCAA tournament bracket, High Post Hoops’ Russell Steinberg had Duke pegged as a No. 9 seed in the Greenville Regional.

With Lambert transferring, Haley Gorecki and Leaonna Odom graduating, the key returning players for Duke next season will include center Jade Williams, guards Mikayla Boykin, Miela Goodchild and Azana Baines, and forward Onome Akinbode-James.

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