For the second time this week, a West Virginia women’s basketball player has entered the transfer portal.
And this one comes on the same day as the announcement that longtime coach Mike Carey is retiring.
Kari Niblack has entered the portal, a source familiar with the situation told West Virginia Sports Now.
Niblack confirmed her intent to transfer with a message on Twitter, saying, “Thank you Coach Carey for taking a chance on me for the past four years… And most of all thank you to each and every one of the girls I’ve gotten to play with. You all have played a huge role in who I am today and what Kari Niblack means to the state of West Virginia.”
She has one year of eligibility remaining as a fifth-year senior, because of the NCAA’s COVID-era ruling that made it so the 2020-21 season didn’t count toward a player’s eligibility clock.
Niblack is coming off a season where she was an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection. She averaged 7.6 points, four rebounds and 1.6 blocks per-game while shooting 44.3% from the floor and a career-best 71.1% from the charity stripe.
The senior forward’s stats took a bit of a dip this year as her playing time decreased though. Niblack was limited to 19.6 minutes per-game after averaging 25 minutes a night as a junior and 27.6 minutes as a sophomore. She also started just 21 games this season after starting in every game the Mountaineers played in the 2020-21 and 2019-20 seasons.
Niblack showed she could still be an effective player though. She had perhaps her best game of the season on Feb. 5 in a two-point loss for WVU on the road against a then-ranked No. 18 Oklahoma team. Niblack had 22 points on 8 of 16 shooting, and also had 12 rebounds and four assists. It was her lone double-double of the season, but came against tough competition. She was also effective for WVU in a Jan. 22 win at Oklahoma State where she had four points, four rebounds and season-best six blocks in 21 minutes off the bench.
According to HerHoopStats, Niblack’s block rate of 9.1% was 34th-best in the nation this season. She also had the 13th-best defensive rating of all Big 12 players.
Niblack was tabbed as a four-star recruit by ESPN in 2018 and ranked as the 76th overall prospect in her class. She chose the Mountaineers over Ohio State, Northwestern, Miami, FIU and Florida.
A 6-foot-1 forward from Leesburg, Florida, Niblack is the second Mountaineer to enter the portal this week, following JeAnna Cunningham. The Mountaineers pulled out of the WNIT on Monday, with athletic director Shane Lyons citing “team injuries” and “the transfer portal” “limiting roster availability,” as to why.