The NCAA has officially granted immediate eligibility to center Olivia Owens, the Kentucky women’s basketball program confirmed today.
KSR’s own Zack Geoghegan broke the news this morning.
Owens, a five-star recruit out of high school in 2018, announced her commitment to Kentucky in June after transferring from Maryland.
“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,” said UK head coach Matthew Mitchell. “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.”
“I am so excited for the next chapter and looking forward to playing with my teammates this season,” Owens said. “Let’s go BBN!”
The former five-star prospect was considered the No. 34 overall player and No. 5 post player in ESPN’s 2018 recruiting rankings. All-Star Girls Report also listed the 6-foot-4 standout as the No. 26 overall prospect in the nation after she was tabbed a Women’s Basketball Coaches Association High School All-American Honorable Mention and McDonalds All-American Game nominee.
A star at Niskayuna High School, Owens was a USA Today All-New York First-Team honoree and was named the team’s MVP her junior season after averaging 20.6 points and 12.3 rebounds. As a senior, Owens became only the second player in school history to score 1,000 career points while she also posted 42 points in a game, which set a conference record.
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. She also had three rebounds and scored two points in Maryland’s NCAA First Round win vs. Radford. In her collegiate debut, Owens pulled down six rebounds with a steal and two points vs. Coppin State and followed with four points, three rebounds and a block vs. George Washington.
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.