Pitt’s women’s basketball team is losing one of the nation’s best interior defenders.
Junior center Rita Igbokwe entered the transfer portal on Thursday, a source familiar with the situation confirmed to Pittsburgh Sports Now.
Igbokwe was a key piece in Lance White’s first recruiting class. Tabbed as a three-star prospect by ESPN in 2019 out of Jonesboro, Georgia, she joined the team the same time as core players Amber Brown and Dayshanette Harris. She chose White and the Panthers over offers from Colorado, Arizona State, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
A 6-foot-4 post player, Igbokwe immediately established herself as a shot-blocking machine. As a freshman, she swatted away 60 shots, breaking a 43-year-old program record for freshmen.
Since Igbokwe started playing college ball, she’s blocked 157 shots. The only player in the ACC to block more in that span is Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley, who was named ACC Player of the Year this past season.
Igbokwe ranked 20th nationally in blocked shots this season with a total of 68, which was third-best in the ACC behind Notre Dame’s Maya Dodson and Kitley. According to HerHoopStats, Igbokwe’s block rate of 10.2% was 18th best in the country.
Pitt was one of the best rebounding teams in the country this season – ranking 11th in offensive boards per-game and 11th in total rebounds – and Igbokwe was a big reason why. She averaged a career-best 7.4 rebounds per-game this season, but often used her large frame to box out defenders and allow her teammates to scoop up easy boards.
Igbokwe also averaged a career-best 6.1 points per-game this season while shooting 44.9% from the floor. While shot-blocking is probably her best ability, she’s also shown the ability to score in bunches too. Igbokwe had 23 points against Lafayette and 13 points against Syracuse. She had double-digit rebounds in eight games this year.
Pitt finished this past season with an 11-19 record and a 2-16 mark in ACC play in White’s fourth season at the helm.
Igbokwe is the second Pitt player in the last month to enter the portal, following Jayla Everett, who was dismissed from the team in February.