Wednesday, May 12th, 2021

Exodus continues from UNC, Stephanie Mavunga granted release

Published on June 19, 2015


The exodus of top players from North Carolina continues in the wake of the institution’s academic fraud scandal. Forward Stephanie Mavunga was granted permission to transfer today..

On Tuesday, rising junior guard Allisha Gray, the team’s leading scorer this past season, was granted a release to transfer. South Carolina announced today that Gray will play for the Gamecocks. According to a report in The Daily Tar Heel, Gray’s decision to transfer “was motivated by the athletic-academic scandal that has followed UNC for several years.”

In May, another rising junior, Jessica Washington, left the program. And last month, former assistant coach and ex-UNC star, Ivory Latta departed to pursue more playing opportunities overseas during the college season. Latta is also currently a player for the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.

Diamond DeShields left the program in 2014 after the Tar Heels reached the Elite Eight. She transferred to Tennessee.

Mavunga, Gray, Washington and DeShields account for every single member of UNC’s star-laden 2013-14 freshman class.

UNC’s statement:

The University of North Carolina has granted women’s basketball player Stephanie Mavunga’s release to speak with other schools about the possibility of transferring.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I have asked for, and been granted permission to talk to other teams and explore transfer opportunities,” said Mavunga. “I wish to thank Coach Hatchell, the whole coaching staff and my teammates and fans for their support over the two years I’ve spent in Chapel Hill. I have nothing but great things to say about the program and I am very grateful for the mentorship and development that I received along the way at UNC. They have helped me tremendously!

“From the big things to the little things, they’ve been a part of my greatest support system. I was molded into a player who earned first team All-ACC honors, and was even blessed with the opportunity to represent my country in Canada during the Pan American games this summer. I wish everyone in the program the best of success. I have decided to look at transfer opportunities for personal reasons. As we all know, once a Tar Heel, always a Tar Heel.”

Tar Heel Hall of Fame head coach Sylvia Hatchell offered these comments. “The players on our team are part of my family and I love them dearly. It has been a pleasure to coach Stephanie the past two years. She is an outstanding basketball player and it has been such a delight for her to be a part of our championship basketball family.

“I know she will have a successful future and I wish her the absolute best. We have an outstanding class of incoming student-athletes joining our talented returning players and I’m excited about the upcoming season.

“There has been a lot of speculation surrounding our program in recent weeks and that’s all that it is – speculation. Our players are working every day to get better and I appreciate their efforts. A number of former players have reached out to me with their support. We have a strong and loyal Tar Heel family.”


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