Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Michigan State women's basketball's Kayla Belles to transfer to BYU

The Spartans lose their first player to the transfer portal this offseason

April 7, 2020
<p>Sophomore forward Kayla Belles (42) shoots over a defender during the women&#x27;s basketball game against Rutgers at the Breslin Center on Feb. 13, 2020. The Spartans ended a five game losing streak and defeated the Scarlet Knights, 57-53. </p>

Sophomore forward Kayla Belles (42) shoots over a defender during the women's basketball game against Rutgers at the Breslin Center on Feb. 13, 2020. The Spartans ended a five game losing streak and defeated the Scarlet Knights, 57-53.

Photo by Connor Desilets | The State News

Michigan State women's basketball coach Suzy Merchant announced on Tuesday that center Kayla Belles will transfer to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Belles averaged 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore in the 2019-2020 season en route to collecting the team's honor of most improved player at their postseason banquet. In a statement, she said that the decision to transfer was not an easy one to make.

"The decision I have made to transfer has possibly been one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make thus far in my life," she said. "When you are surrounded with such amazing teammates, coaches and support staff, you grow a family that is hard to leave. But through personal prayer and much thought, I have decided this will be my new path."

Belles, a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, was originally recruited out of high school by BYU after she earned All-State honors three times in her career at Ithaca High School. The move leaves Cyndi Dodd and Taiyier Parks as the remaining centers on Michigan State's roster.

Merchant wished Belles well in a statement and said that she will always be a Spartan.

"We loved having Kayla Belles part of our program and while disappointed she is leaving, we wish her nothing but the very best at an institution that aligns her faith and personal endeavors," she said. "She and her family are first class people, and they will always be part of our Spartan Family."

With Belles' departure, Michigan State has now gained and lost a player to the transfer portal this week. Jayla James, previously a guard for Penn State, announced her decision to transfer to MSU on Monday.

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