The NCAA has granted immediate eligibility to Kentucky Wildcats center Olivia Owens, making her eligible to compete for the Wildcats in the 2020-21 season, it was announced Thursday.
Owens, who was a five-star prospect coming out of high school in 2018, joined Matthew Mitchell’s program 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 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.”
“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, 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.
Playing at Niskayuna High School (NY), 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.
Owens joins the Wildcats after two seasons at Maryland, where she played in 16 games as a freshman before missing last season due to a case of Mononucleosis that cost her the first few months of what would have been her sophomore season. As a freshman, she averaged 1.5 points and 1.3 rebounds per contest. 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 help the Terrapins win the title.
ESPN had ranked Owens as the 16th-best sit-out transfer this year.