A big target for other schools is available
Arguably one of the top three-point shooters in all of women’s college basketball is now a free agent, of sorts.
Virginia Tech sophomore Dara Mabrey has entered the transfer portal, a source familiar with the matter told High Post Hoops on Monday. Mabrey confirmed her intention to transfer away from Virginia Tech on Twitter too, saying she was “very grateful for the endless support and relationships” she made with “HokieNation” during her two seasons in Blacksburg.
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With Mabrey, Virginia Tech reached program-record heights this season. Their 11 wins in ACC play was the most the Hokies had captured since joining the conference in 2004. If not for the NCAA tournament being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Hokies would’ve cracked the field for the first time since 2006.
High Post Hoops’ bracketologist Russell Steinberg had the Hokies pegged as a No. 9 seed in the Fort Wayne regional in his final projection.
Basketball is obviously in Mabrey’s blood. Her two sisters were standouts at Notre Dame, but Dara opted for a different path and chose to go to Blacksburg instead of South Bend. She broke out as a freshman and set a Virginia Tech record with 80 three-pointers made in a single season. Her 46.2 shooting percentage from behind the arc led the ACC and was third-best in the nation in the 2018-19 season. She made the All-ACC Freshman team and led the Hokies to the third round of the WNIT.
Mabrey’s three-point shooting numbers took a bit of a dip this past season, but she remained an outside scoring threat, making 36.4 percent of her three-point attempts, ranking second on the team with 75 three’s made. That helped the Hokies finish fourth in the conference, their best-ever ending place in the standings.
The 5’7 Mabrey also averaged 2.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 11.9 points per-game this past season. An area she improved at was taking care of the ball, turning it over 31 less times from her freshman to sophomore seasons. Mabrey proved to be a versatile guard, playing the point as a freshman and playing more off-the-ball as a sophomore. On defense, she was a feisty defender and came up with 46 steals in 64 games for the Hokies.
In just two seasons at Virginia Tech, Mabrey became the program’s seventh all-time leader in three’s made with 155. Her career free throw mark of 83.9 percent is fourth best all-time there.
For head coach Kenny Brooks and Virginia Tech, Mabrey seems like a significant loss. He’ll have to replace three starters now as All-ACC selection Taja Cole and forward Lydia Rivers are graduating. The Hokies are expected to return ACC Freshman of the Year Elizabeth Kitley and All-ACC first team selection Aisha Sheppard.
Barring an unlikely waiver, Mabrey will have to sit out a season and will then have two years of eligibility remaining to play for wherever she chooses to go.
While one of her older sisters, Marina, is in the WNBA with the LA Sparks, Michaela is an assistant coach now at Notre Dame. Dara might certainly feel comfortable transferring there (she liked this tweet reply from Notre Dame freshman Katlyn Gilbert), or someplace closer to her New Jersey home, like Rutgers, or to a team that figures to be a contender for the next few years, like South Carolina or Maryland.
It’s early in transfer season, but Mabrey will certainly be sought after by countless teams. She is the second ACC starter to enter the transfer portal this off-season, following Duke’s Kyra Lambert.
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