(LEX 18) — Olivia Owens will be able to hit the court for the Kentucky women's basketball team this season. The former 5-star prospect has been granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA after transferring from Maryland last season. She's hailed as one of the best centers in the nation.
"Olivia is a phenomenal person and outstanding basketball player. We are so happy for her that she will be able to compete this year with her teammates," UK head coach Matthew Mitchell said in a press release. "She has worked hard since arriving on campus to be able to play this season and I know her teammates and all of us are overjoyed for her that she will get that opportunity."
Owens is listed at 6-foot-4, making her the tallest student athlete on the roster. She'll compete as a redshirt sophomore.
"I am so excited for the next chapter and looking forward to playing with my teammates this season," Owens said. "Let's go BBN!"
Owens began her collegiate career as one of the best post prospects in the nation, ranking as a five-star recruit by ESPN.com, which also tabbed her the fifth-best post in the 2018 class and 34th-best player overall. All-Star Girls Report ranked the 6-foot-4 post as the No. 26 overall player in the class after she was tabbed a Women's Basketball Coaches Association High School All-American Honorable Mention and McDonalds All-American Game nominee.
The native of Albany, N.Y., joins the Wildcats after two seasons at Maryland, where she played in 16 games as a freshman before missing last season due to medical issues. As a freshman, Owens performed well, hitting 55 percent from the field while recording a point in nine games and a rebound in nine games. One of her best outings was in the Big 10 Championship game where she played six minutes and scored four points with four rebounds to lift the Terrapins to the title.
The Wildcats will return a large portion of their production for 2020-21 even with the departure of five seniors. UK will bring back its top two and five of the top seven scorers from last season while also returning its top two rebounders. Kentucky will also add Owens, 2019 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Dre'una Edwards and a talented group of newcomers to the roster this season.
The team's full schedule has not yet been announced, but women's college basketball across the nation is slated to begin in late November, with league play beginning as soon as December 31, 2020.