Jennings, Larson leaving Iowa women's basketball team

Ryan Murken
Whitney Jennings is leaving the Iowa women's basketball team, according to a release from the program on Wednesday.

After two seasons at Iowa, Whitney Jennings is heading home.

The Iowa women’s basketball program announced Wednesday in a press release that the sophomore guard was leaving the program to pursue playing opportunities closer to home in Logansport, Ind.

Jennings played in all 67 games during her two years as a Hawkeye and started 62 of them. She ranked fourth on the team last season averaging 9.6 points per game.

Iowa also announced that freshman forward Tagyn Larson would leave the program.

When asked if the departures came as a surprise Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said yes and no.

"It’s always hard I think for kids to come from a distance away and go to school," Bluder said. "They are great kids and we wish them well and hope that they are going to find a great place for them in their local areas."

The 5-foot-5 guard averaged 9.1 points as a freshman on Iowa’s Sweet 16 team that finished 26-8.

This season, Jennings started 31 games and played 32.6 minutes per game, second most on the team. She also ranked second with 99 assists as Iowa finished 19-14 losing in the opening round of the WNIT.

She will have two years of eligibility remaining.

“I want to thank coach Bluder and Iowa women’s basketball for the tremendous opportunity, but have decided to continue my academic and basketball career at a place closer to home,” Jennings said in the release.

Larson, a 6-2 forward, played a combined 10 minutes in five games this season and did not score.

The Sioux Falls, S.D., native will have three years of eligibility remaining.

“I’ve appreciated what the coaches have done for me and the opportunities that have been given to me at Iowa,” Larson said in the release. “I’ve made lifelong friends in my teammates and it’s been an experience I’m going to treasure forever. Looking ahead, I’m excited to start at a new school and have the best years I can there.”

Iowa returns four starters for the 2016-17 season: Megan Gustafson, Chase Coley, Tania Davis and Ally Disterhoft.

The current incoming four-member recruiting class for the Hawkeyes features three guards, including Miss Iowa Basketball Makenzie Meyer of Mason City.

Bluder said she didn't anticipate adding additional recruits for next season with the departure of Jennings and Larson.

Guards Bre Cera and Alexis Sevillian along with Linn-Mar forward Amanda Ollinger join Meyer in Iowa’s 2016 recruiting class that is ranked as high as 18th nationally.

“We are really happy with our recruiting class coming in,” Bluder said. “Our recruiting plan hasn’t changed at all.”

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