UConn's Ekmark transferring to Arizona State
"It was a difficult decision to leave but I'm really excited to play for (Arizona State coach) Charli (Turner Thorne)," Ekmark told the Arizona Republic on Tuesday, "I'm just looking to start a new chapter in my life. I'm a west coast girl to be honest. I learned a lot from playing for Geno Auriemma."
Ekmark averaged 2 points, 1.1 rebounds in 8.9 minutes per game as a sophomore. She played at least 10 minutes in 13 games seeing a season-high 19 minutes in wins over Colgate and Central Florida. She finished her UConn career with 119 points, 75 rebounds and 23 3-pointers in 61 career games.
With the graduation of Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck and with transfers Batouly Camara and Azura' Stevens not being eligible until the 2017-18 season, there was an opening for Ekmark to earn a more significant role during the upcoming season.
“Courtney is a great kid and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to get to know her and her family,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said in a statement. "Everyone at UConn misses her already and we wish her nothing but the best in the future.”
I spoke with Ekmark at the Final Four about her fight to earn minutes in her first two seasons with the Huskies.
"Mostly it is just consistency, trying to show up for practice every single day and really just working hard, really doing whatever I can," Ekmark said.
"It is always hard to play here but it definitely has been easier than my freshman year. Sophomore year with more experience, you have been here before and you know how it all goes so it has gone better for me
"I think it is really really important to show up every day with the same attitude, work my butt off no matter what happens. As long as I can control the things that I can control, that is what I need to do."
Ekmark was Arizona's Gatorade Player of the Year in 2013 helping St. Mary's High School, coached by her father Curtis, to its third consecutive Arizona Division I title. With most of the St. Mary's team graduating, Ekmark opted not to play as a senior and spent the season working out to prepare for her time at UConn.
Ekmark is the second player from her class to leave UConn for the Pac-12 as Sadie Edwards transferred to USC after playing six games during the 2014-15 season. Edwards averaged 11.3 points in 22 games after becoming eligible following her transfer. Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams remain from the recruiting class although Natalie Butler is also a part of the rising junior class.