Forward Lauren Yearwood to transfer from Oregon

Oregon forward Lauren Yearwood (22) pulls the ball back to get away from her opponents. The Oregon Ducks host the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Nov. 20, 2016. (Amanda Shigeoka/Emerald)

Oregon Ducks forward Lauren Yearwood has been granted a release to transfer after two years with the program, head coach Kelly Graves confirmed on Wednesday.

Yearwood said her decision boiled down to more playing time and what was “best for me and my basketball career.”

“It was a very difficult decision,” Yearwood said in an interview with the Emerald. “I love the coaches, my teammates and the university here. But at the end of the day, it kind of came down to being able to be out there on the court and getting those minutes and playing time. With so much young talent on this team — which is amazing — I just don’t see that happening for me in my last two years of eligibility.”

Graves said the program will miss her in the next two years.

“We love her to death,” Graves said. “I know her teammates are happy for her in a chance for a new opportunity. … All she had to do was ask for it [the release]. We had no issue and there’s no restrictions.”

The Victoria, British Columbia, native was part of Graves’ first recruiting class at Oregon. Yearwood, 6-foot-3 forward, appeared in 20 games for the Ducks in 2016-17, making two starts. She was an all-Pac-12 academic selection and scored a season-high six points when the Ducks squared off against Hawaii in Honolulu.

As a freshman, she appeared in 26 games while averaging 7.4 minutes a game. She scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds against Portland State in her best statistical performance of the season.

Yearwood brought extensive international experience to Oregon’s roster when she signed. She represented Canada in U15, U16, U17 and U19 action.

Yearwood said she’s looking mostly at institutions in the WCC, Mountain West, Big West and WAC. She’s also talked with a few Ivy League schools.

“I think the world of her,” Graves said. “She’s incredible. She leaves her in good stead with everybody, from academics to the coaches to teammates. She’s a beloved player, no doubt.”

She will spend the remainder of spring term in Eugene taking classes, taking visits and doing a bit of training with the Ducks before moving away.

“I have great relationships with the coaches and my teammates,” she said. “It’s definitely a hard goodbye and an emotional goodbye. They’ve all been so supportive of me and I know those relationships will last forever.

Follow Jonathan Hawthorne on Twitter @Jon_Hawthorne

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