Dara Mabrey is transferring to Notre Dame
Mabrey, who knocked down 155 three-pointers at Virginia Tech, will follow her sisters to South Bend.
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Dara Mabrey is leaving Virginia Tech after two seasons to join Notre Dame, where her two older sisters were stars. (Mitchell Northam / The Next)
One of the final dominoes of transfer season fell Thursday evening, when Dara Mabrey announced she would follow in her sisters’ footsteps.
The 5’7 sharpshooter is leaving Virginia Tech and will join Notre Dame. She will be the third Mabrey to play in South Bend, but the first in the new Niele Ivey era.
“I am blessed to be a part of a family that contains my immediate family,” Dara Mabrey said in a press release. “It is an opportunity not many people can say they had and I’m grateful to play for the same university as my sisters, while creating my own story here in South Bend.”
It is assumed — barring an unlikely waiver — that Mabrey will have to sit out the 2020-21 season due to NCAA transfer rules. When the 2021-22 season begins, Mabrey will be joining the team with a stellar incoming recruiting class, featuring five-star guards Olivia Miles and Sonia Citron. This season, Ivey is bringing in a class with four players ranked in the top 45 of ESPN’s rankings.
Mabrey is another piece that could help Notre Dame get back to the Final Four. At the very least, the Irish will be far too talented to repeat last season’s 13-18 mark and first-round exit in the ACC tournament.
“I am thrilled to welcome Dara Mabrey to our team,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Niele Ivey. “We have an incredible history of success with the Mabrey family and I am looking forward to continuing that track record with Dara. Between her three-point shooting capability, competitive drive, and ACC experience, I think she will be a great addition to the new era of Irish basketball."
At Virginia Tech, Mabrey helped the Hokies reach program highs and she etched her name in the record books in only two seasons in Blacksburg. Last season, the Hokies won 11 ACC games, their most since joining the conference in 2004. If it weren’t for the coronavirus, Virginia Tech would’ve been bound for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006.
As a freshman, Mabrey set a Virginia Tech record by knocking down 80 three-pointers, and her 46.2 percent shooting percentage from behind the arc topped the ACC and was third best in the nation. She made the ACC’s All-Freshman team and helped the Hokies reach the third round of the WNIT.
This past season though, Mabrey stopped being the focal point of the Hokies’ offense with the rise of Aisha Sheppard, and the arrivals of graduate transfer point guard Taja Cole and ACC Freshman of the Year Elizabeth Kitley. With Cole running the point, Mabrey slid over to shooting guard. She still made an impact, averaging 11.9 points and 2.7 rebounds per-game, but her assists, field goal and three-point percentages all took a noticeable dip.
In March, shortly after Mabrey announced her intent to transfer, Hokies’ head coach Kenny Brooks told the Roanoke Times: “I can just only speculate that (Mabrey’s) desire to be a point guard and understanding that it probably wasn’t going to happen here was the main factor in her decision.”
Brooks also said that he didn’t have a conversation with Mabrey about her leaving, but he knew “she was unhappy with her role.” According to him, she informed him via text message.
Still, in just two seasons at Virginia Tech, Mabrey became the program’s seventh all-time leader in three’s made with 155. Her career free throw mark of 83.9 percent is fourth best all-time there. She was one of the most potent offensive weapons on the transfer market this offseason.
Mabrey is the first player Notre Dame has picked up via transfer this offseason and the second player to leave Virginia Tech, joining Trinity Baptiste who went to Arizona. She is the 23rd ACC player to transfer this offseason, but just the second — following Azaina Baines, who went from Duke to Virginia Tech — to remain in the conference.
Michaela Mabrey — now an assistant on Ivey’s staff — was a key part of Notre Dame’s most winningest class (2012 to 2016) that went to three Final Fours and captured four conference titles. She is also fifth all-time in program history in three’s made. Marina Mabrey made three All-ACC teams, helped the Irish win its second national championship in 2018 and is the program’s all-time leader in three’s made.
The Mabrey legacy at Notre Dame is one of success and big shots from behind the arc. We’ll find out soon enough what Dara can add to it.