UConn center Natalie Butler will not return to play for the team next season, according to the program’s Twitter account.
Butler will graduate from UConn in May, but she will use her final year of eligibility to play at George Mason University, along with pursuing a postgraduate degree there, too.
“I would like to thank Coach Auriemma, the coaching staff and my teammates for a great opportunity and learning experience,” Butler said in the school’s press release. “I've had the opportunity to play at an elite level and learn from the best. I would also like to thank the UConn fans - you ARE the best and have been incredibly supportive during my career. I now look forward to pursuing my postgraduate degree at George Mason University and the challenges that lie ahead. Thank you!”
Butler was a part of a UConn team that lost to Mississippi State in the Final Four of this past season’s NCAA Tournament. The loss broke the Huskies’ 111-game win streak.
In her redshirt junior season, Butler averaged 5.4 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per game this season, while playing 15.9 minutes per game.
“I have really enjoyed getting to know Natalie and her family,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said. “I understand why she has decided to transfer to George Mason and am happy that she will be able to play right away while pursuing her postgraduate degree. We’ll miss Nat and everyone at UConn wishes her all the best in the future.”
Last season, George Mason (13-17, 6-10 Atlantic 10 Conference) finished No. 10 in the Atlantic 10. Butler will not have to sit out next year.