Nebraska transfer Natalie Romeo, a record-setting three-point specialist, would add some serious firepower to the Huskies if the NCAA grants her eligibility request.
It’s decision time for Natalie Romeo and the Washington women’s basketball team.
Hours before the Huskies’ Friday season opener against Eastern Washington, the NCAA is expected to make a ruling on Romeo’s eligibility case – a decision that will greatly impact what looks to be another promising season for UW.
“Her uniform will be in the locker room just in case,” coach Mike Neighbors said. “We should find out during shoot-around.”
Romeo, a transfer from Nebraska, petitioned the NCAA for immediate eligibility due to the circumstances surrounding her departure.
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The 5-foot-7 junior guard left the Cornhuskers in May after Nebraska coach Connie Yori resigned amidst allegations from players of mistreatment.
“None of this is true from my perspective,” Romeo told the Associated Press in April.
Neighbors said the delay in Romeo’s eligibility case stems from her decision to play for the USA Basketball Women’s team that won a bronze medal at the FIBA 3×3 World Championship in Guangzhou, China in October.
“We’ve been practicing like she’s been going to play all year long,” Neighbors said. “We’re practicing like she’s not. It’s easy for us to do (and) it’s hard.
“She’s been great. Been able to maintain her focus as good as she can in a situation like that. We’re very, very hopeful.”
Romeo, who set a Nebraska record with 104 three-pointers as a sophomore last season, averaged 16.0 points and shot .424 on three-point attempts.
She also averaged 3.0 assists and had a team-high 44 steals while helping Nebraska reach the WNIT. She’s been an all-Big Ten second team pick in each of the past two years.
If available, Romeo could potentially slide into the starting lineup alongside returning guard Kelsey Plum and forwards Chantel Osahor and Katie Collier – UW’s returning senior starters.
Washington also started fifth-year senior forward Heather Corral and junior guard Kelli Kingma in its exhibition blowout victories over Central Washington and Concordia.
“Obviously if Natalie’s name is in that official book, that will give us some lineups that that we haven’t seen,” Neighbors said. “If she gets the green light, she will play.”
— The Huskies will unveil their 2016 Final Four banner in a pregame ceremony prior to Friday’s 7 p.m. season opener against Eastern Washington. Fans can purchase $4 tickets to the game online using a promo code WBBF4. For more information visit www.gohuskies.com.
— Washington signed Kierra Collier, a 5-7 point guard at Truman High in Independence, MO. The four-star recruit is ranked No. 55 by Prospects Nation and was named First Team Missouri Class 5 All-State as a junior. Collier averaged 22.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 2.5 assists last season. She had offers from Kansas and Kansas State.
“Growing up in the Midwest, I had a lot of people pushing for me to go somewhere close because they’re fans of those schools or they wanted to come watch me play,” Collier told the Kansas City Star. “But I wanted to experience something different, and I love the city of Seattle,” Collier said.