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Ajae Petty, UK women’s basketball’s leading scorer, announces transfer to Ohio State

Kentucky women’s basketball’s leading scorer has named her new home.

Ajae Petty, who had a breakout senior season with the Wildcats during the 2023-24 campaign, announced via social media on Monday afternoon that she’ll be transferring to Ohio State for her fifth and final season of eligibility.

“BUCKEYE NATION!!” Petty captioned the post. This announcement comes immediately following Petty’s official visit to Ohio State this weekend, which involved getting shots up with former UK teammate Kennedy Cambridge, who left the Wildcats for the Buckeyes ahead of the 2023-24 season, and seeing Nicki Minaj in concert at the school’s Schottenstein Center on Friday night. In Columbus, Petty will join fellow high-profile transfer Chance Gray (Oregon).

Petty, who arrived in Lexington ahead of the 2022-23 campaign after two seasons with LSU, finished the 2023-24 regular season as one of four players in the Southeastern Conference to record at least 15 double-doubles with 16 during the regular season. She did so again in each of the Wildcats’ SEC Tournament games.

The most improved player on the roster, Petty’s production jumped after an offseason of strength conditioning and focus. As a junior, Petty averaged 5.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 29 contests with no starts. As a senior, Petty led the team in points (14.2), rebounds (10.6) and blocks (0.8), averaging 31.2 minutes and starting in each of the team’s 32 games.

Petty, who was the first active Wildcat to announce her intentions to enter the transfer portal following the firing of former head coach Kyra Elzy, is also the first Wildcat to choose a transfer destination since the hiring of new head coach Kenny Brooks. Starting point guard Brooklynn Miles, senior guard Eniya Russell and freshmen Jordy Griggs and Janaé Walker have also publicly declared for the portal. Seniors Nyah Leveretter and Maddie Scherr, as well as sophomore guard Amiya Jenkins, are not listed on UK’s online roster for the 2024-25 season but have yet to issue any announcement regarding their future plans.

Since Brooks’ hiring, three transfers have committed to play for Kentucky women’s basketball — All-America point guard Georgia Amoore and 6-foot-5 center Clara Strack, both following Brooks from Virginia Tech, and 6-foot-4 redshirt sophomore Teonni Key from North Carolina.

The Wildcats have also received verbal commitments from 6-foot-2 guard Lexi Blue (No. 40 in espnW 100) of Lake Highland Prep, 6-foot-3 forward Amelia Hassett of Eastern Florida State College and 6-foot-7 international prospect Clara Silva, all of whom were previously signed with the Hokies. Former UK signee Ramiya White out of Butler High School in Louisville announced via social media on April 5 that she would be reopening her recruitment.

Ajae Petty averaged 14.2 points and 10.6 rebounds for Kentucky last season. Silas Walker/swalker@herald-leader.com
Ajae Petty averaged 14.2 points and 10.6 rebounds for Kentucky last season. Silas Walker/swalker@herald-leader.com

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