Women's basketball: Leigha Brown leaving Nebraska, enters transfer portal

The leading scorer for Nebraska women's basketball team last season - and the Big Ten's Sixth Player of the Year - is leaving the Husker program to play closer to home.

Leigha Brown told the World-Herald Thursday night that she put her name in the transfer portal and doesn't intend to return to NU and "will ideally go closer to home." Brown is from Auburn, Indiana, and informed coach Amy Williams of her decision Thursday.

"Leigha has spent the past couple weeks at home with her family during this truly unique and unprecedented time in the world," Williams said Thursday night, referring to the coronavirus pandemic. "She indicated to us that she would like to find somewhere closer to home to continue her career. We wish her the best moving forward."

Nebraska had already lost Ashtyn Veerbeek (Dordt) and Kayla Mershon (Minnesota) to transfers last week. Those two, plus Brown, were a part of NU's 2018 recruiting class. Of that group, only point guard Sam Haiby remains.

Brown averaged 14.4 points and 3.1 rebounds last season for the Huskers despite not starting a game. She was the first player off the bench each game for Nebraska and averaged the fourth-most minutes on the team.

“I trust Coach Williams and believe that she’s going to do the best for the team,” Brown said in December of NU’s decision to bring her off the bench. “I’m going to kind of — not accept the role — but, what’s the word? I don’t know the word.”

Embrace it?

“Yes, that’s it, just embrace the role,” Brown said. “I’m happy doing whatever I can to help the team.”

Williams first started to see Brown’s game take an extra step after an offseason trip to Europe.

“This entire offseason, she’s just had a different mindset,” Williams said in August of Brown. “She had an intensity about her in every rep of every drill of every day. That’s what we’ve seen more out of Leigha, just focused on bringing that energy and intensity and wanting to elevate the competition level of everyone around her.”With Brown's departure, the Huskers have plenty to replace for the 2020-2021 season and many open scholarships with which to do it. NU continues to recruit for the current 2020 class while evaluating prospects for 2021.

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