Oregon women’s basketball experienced a well documented transfer portal exodus after the end of the 2022-23 season. When the dust settled and the 2023 recruiting class was announced, the Ducks were faced with a need for veteran leadership to help this young team going in to the fall.
Oregon’s 2023 signing class doesn’t have quite the stars and ranking that previous classes have had; however - as we’ve seen in the past few seasons - those high rankings don’t necessarily translate to production on the court. The players from 2022-23 only include one junior, with the other three returning as sophomores. Add the three signees and we are faced with the majority of next season’s team being decidedly on the younger side.
The task facing head coach Kelly Graves was one of adding offensive firepower and veterans to help guide this young team. Today we update the new additions to the Ducks 2023-24 squad; both the new recruiting class as well as the transfer portal additions.
We start with Kelly Graves’ 2023 signing class:
Sammie Wagner is a 4*, 6-1 wing out of San Antonio, TX. She was ranked #42 in espnW’s 2022 Top 100. Wagner shot 43.2% from the field and averaged 25.9 PPG in her junior season at Ronald Reagan HS in San Antonio.
Sammie enrolled at UO early - in last winter’s term in January - and intentionally redshirted for the 2022-23 season. She has been practicing with the team with the idea that she would not be playing until the upcoming season.
Given this head start, it’s not difficult to imagine Wagner being one of the starters right from the beginning of next season.
Sarah Rambus is a 4*, 6-3 forward from Flint, Michigan entering the season as a freshman. She is a McDoanld’s All-American that was rated #66 in the 2022 class and was the top rated player out of the state of Michigan.
Rambus spent her senior season at Florida’s IMG Academy and statistics are not ready available; however, in her junior season at Flushing High School she shot 49.5 percent from the field and 33.3 percent on her 3-point attempts. Coach Graves’ comments on Rambus included that “She’s a versatile player who can play inside and out with great length...she can be a defensive presence and is a good shot blocker.”
Look for Rambus to be the same kind of tall forward presence that Grace VanSlooten is - one that can have a huge impact on both ends of the court.
Sofia Bell was the third signee announced in coach Graves’ 2023 class. Bell is an Oregon product, coming out of Jesuit HS in Portland. She is a 6-1, 4* guard that was ranked #26 in espnW’s 2022 Top 100, and was the top player from the state of Oregon. Her father is Greg Bell, who played for Oregon from 1981-85.
Said coach Graves upon signing, “(Sophia is) a long, versatile guard who can play any backcourt position. She’s an elite 3-point shooter but can also create for herself and her teammates. Sofia is considered one of the best defenders in country, as well.”
Next are the portal transfer additions for the fall:
Bella Hamel is a 5-9 guard that is also a local product out of Hillsboro, OR. She has played locally at Lane Community College in Eugene for the past two seasons. LCC plays in the Northwest Athletic Conference, and Hamel was named last season’s conference Player of the Year. At LCC, she averaged 43.8% shooting from the field and 12.1 PPG. Hamel also averaged 2.9 assists per game and 2.8 steals per game.
Hamel appears to have the toolbox necessary to play at the Pac-12 level and it will be interesting to see how she adapts to the higher level of competition she will experience as a Duck.
. . . ✍️— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) May 22, 2023
A 5-7 senior guard, Kennedi spent the last four seasons starring at Liberty, where she led the Flames in assists each of the last 3 seasons.
️ https://t.co/rCmwCSmZuu#GoDucks x @young_kayyyy pic.twitter.com/RekMqTqDe6
Kennedi Williams is a 5-7 guard from Liberty University in Virginia. She comes to the Ducks as a senior, providing a much needed veteran presence to a largely very young team. A native of Douglasville, GA, Williams has played the past four seasons for Liberty. This last season, she averaged 4.6 assists per game, and 7.6 PPG on 54.2% shooting from the field.
Williams comes to Oregon as a graduate transfer, having earned a degree in interdisciplinary studies at Liberty. Her final season of eligibility will be as a Duck.
“She can score from all three levels ... her basketball IQ is through the roof.”— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) May 24, 2023
• 4-time all-conference pick
• Miami’s No. 4 all-time scorer
Peyton Scott is a Duck ✍️
️ https://t.co/0PeJYU2Aiw#GoDucks x @pcity24 pic.twitter.com/94Fw5ZV43H
Peyton Scott is a 5-8 guard from Miami (Ohio) that is also a graduate transfer, having received a degree in sports leadership and management. She hails from Lynchburg, Ohio, and had 108 starts in 111 games for Miami. Scott ranks fourth in Miami history with 676 made field goals and 36 career 20-point games.
Last season, Scott averaged 15.4 PPG off 43.8% shooting from the field, including 31.4% shooting from beyond the arc. She is an outstanding free throw shooter - last season she shot nearly 84% and has a career mark of 83.4% from the line.
Scott will be another very experienced veteran player that should prove to be vital for the success of Oregon this coming season.
“Great length, elite shooter and versatile at both ends of the floor.”— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) May 31, 2023
A 5-star recruit, Priscilla comes to UO from USF after beginning her career at Syracuse.
️ https://t.co/MvNfHioxxb#GoDucks pic.twitter.com/Jle8VN6jP5
Priscilla Williams is a 6-2 guard from South Florida, who started her collegiate career as a 5* prospect recruited by Syracuse. Originally from Houston, TX, she spent her final three years of high school ball in Branson, MO. Going into Syracuse, Williams was ranked #9 nationally in the 2020 class and was ranked the #3 guard.
After a commendable freshman year at the Orange, Williams redshirted her second season at Syracuse due to injury before transferring to South Florida. While her stats from last season don’t jump at you - perhaps the result of getting to full speed from missing the 2021-22 season - she does have proven skills and a tremendous upside.
Coach Graves commented about this after Williams’ signing: “She’s eager to prove herself and get back to the player she can be. Priscilla fits in nicely with our current group – she is a great teammate with a fun personality that gives us experience in a young backcourt.”
Oregon’s final transfer addition appears to be junior Skyler Gill, a 5-9 guard/forward from North Alabama. While with the the Lions, she earned ASUN Defensive Player of the Year honors in both of her seasons with NA. Gill played her high school ball in Wichita, KS.
Gill is something of a defensive specialist and her career stats don’t pop at you. However, she is a capable player; in her career thus far she has had three 20-point games and 16 double-doubles. As coach Graves put it, “Offensively, she can attack the basket off the dribble and has a nice pull-up game. Skyler is a very good rebounder, a hard worker and a great teammate. She has tremendous upside and wants to prove herself at a higher level.”
These players will be the additions to the players from last season; Grace VanSlooten, Chance Gray, Phillipina Kyei, and Kennedy Basham. While the transfers out of Oregon last season may have been disappointing, the squad for this fall’s season has great potential and it should be exciting to see them in action.