Nell Fortner, the new head coach for the Georgia Tech women's basketball team, speaks. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Nell Fortner: ‘Looks like’ Tech roster won’t lose more transfers

After two significant transfers and the possibility of losing more, the remainder of new Georgia Tech women’s basketball coach Nell Fortner’s roster appears intact, the coach said Thursday.

Fortner, speaking at the quarterly meeting of the Georgia Tech Athletic Association board, said that ACC rookie of the year Elizabeth Balogun and ACC all-freshman team forward Elizabeth Dixon decided that they would transfer even before Fortner was hired to replace MaChelle Joseph on April 9. Both transferred to Louisville.

“They were already gone, but they are really nice young women, and we wish them well,” Fortner said. “It looks like everybody else is on board. I wish I could be a little more specific with that, but I feel really good about it.”

Starting guards Kierra Fletcher and Francesca Pan had both entered the transfer portal, which does not preclude an athlete from staying at his or her original school.

Fortner also said that two of the three signees have stood by their plans to enroll at Tech – forward/center Ronni Nwora of Buffalo, N.Y. (the sister of Louisville men’s basketball forward Jordan Nwora) and center Nerea Hermosa Monreal of Bernedo, Spain. The third signee is guard Alisha Lewis of Media, Pa. Fortner said that she and an assistant were traveling Thursday to Pennsylvania to visit with Lewis and her mother Friday. Fortner was hopeful that Lewis would decide to stay with Tech.

The signing class, assembled by Joseph and her staff, was rated in the top 25 of two different scouting services.

One assistant-coaching hire has been announced – Tasha Butts, who for the past eight seasons was an assistant coach at LSU. Butts is from Milledgeville and was the Gatorade state player of the year in 2000 at Baldwin High before starring at Tennessee. Fortner said that she also filled the other two assistant-coach positions and was probably to complete hiring for administrative staff Thursday.

At the beginning of her remarks to the board, Fortner said that she was “going for the trifecta,” having won regular-season conference championships in the Big Ten (at Purdue) and in the SEC (at Auburn).

“Really excited to be here,” Fortner told the board. “Thank you for giving me the opportunity. I won’t let you down.”

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