Maori Davenport no longer with Georgia Lady Bulldogs after one season

Georgia Lady Bulldogs center Maori Davenport (15) during the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament against Oregon at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. (Photo by Charlie Blalock)

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Georgia Lady Bulldogs center Maori Davenport (15) during the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament against Oregon at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. (Photo by Charlie Blalock)

ATHENS — Maori Davenport won’t be with the Georgia women’s basketball program this season.

The 6-foot-4 post presence has been removed from the team’s roster. A team spokesman confirmed her absence for the remainder of the season to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Her status for the 2022-23 campaign is not yet known.

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Davenport hadn’t been with the program since the season began in November, but the chances of a midseason return were uncertain at the time as she remained on the team’s roster through the season’s first half.

“Maori made the decision this fall to step away from the team to focus on personal matters,” the team spokesman said in a statement released to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Her status in the transfer portal is unknown.

Davenport played in 14 games for the Lady Bulldogs in 2020, albeit in a reserve role and not as a frequent member of the team’s rotation. She did, however, play an integral role in Georgia’s first win over Tennessee in Knoxville since 1996. Davenport logged 23 minutes in a 67-66 victory and scored a season-high eight points as Georgia rallied from a large deficit.

Davenport transferred to Georgia from Rutgers after the 2019-20 season. She made a decision to move closer to her hometown of Troy, Alabama, after 29 games as a freshman with the Scarlet Knights. Davenport’s decision to join Joni Taylor’s program stemmed from a relationship formed during her recruiting process as a high-school prospect. She chose Rutgers over Georgia, Louisville and Mississippi State at the time.

Davenport was a highly touted member of the 2019 recruiting class as a five-star prospect, according to the ESPN HoopGurlz recruiting rankings. The service ranked Davenport as the No. 14 recruit nationally.

“They were recruiting me around eighth grade,” Davenport said at the time of announcing her transfer. “It’s only fair to give Georgia a fair shot.”

At the time of her transfer, Davenport prepared to sit out last season before the NCAA approved its one-time blanket transfer waiver. She became immediately eligible, but needed time to develop and fit into the Lady Bulldogs’ system. Davenport played five minutes or fewer in nine of her 14 games played.

Davenport would’ve had three seasons remaining because of the extra season of eligibility implemented in 2020. Georgia is without a tall post presence who it could’ve added to the rotation when sixth-year senior Jenna Staiti exhausts eligibility at the end of the season. Malury Bates, a rotational post player at 6-foot-3, also can end her college career at the end of this season.

“Her potential hasn’t even scratched the surface of what she’s capable of,” Taylor said of Davenport in April 2020.

Early departures have become a rarity around Georgia’s program. Davenport is the third player to leave the Lady Bulldogs in the past two seasons. Shaniya Jones, a transfer from Virginia Tech, was dismissed for a violation of team rules prior to last season. She played only a half season in a Georgia uniform, but debuted with 20 points against Furman and later added 21 points against Auburn. Caitlin Hose transferred to Indiana after three seasons at Georgia where her role progressively decreased after each season. Hose, after appearing in five games for the Hoosiers, recently left the program to focus on her studies.

Georgia now has 14 players on its active roster after enrolling 2022 signee Tineya Hylton in early January.