Louisville adds Syracuse's Engstler and Vanderbilt's Hall via transfer

Engstler was the ACC's Co-Sixth Player of the Year

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Two days after being booted from the NCAA tournament, Louisville is already reloading for next season.

No Dana Evans next year? No problem.

The Cardinals announced Thursday that they have added transfers Emily Engstler and Chelsie Hall to their 2021 recruiting class. Both veteran players should provide a big boost to Jeff Walz’s side right away.

Engstler is a versatile 6’1 talent who can play multiple positions and swat away shots as well as she can knock them down from behind the arc. She is one of 10 players transferring out of Syracuse this off-season.

“Emily is one of the top rebounders and shot blockers in the country,” Walz said in a statement. “Emily’s versatility, size, and strength will be a huge addition to our team. Her passing, basketball IQ, and toughness will be contagious. We are looking forward to getting her on campus and beginning her new journey in a Cardinal uniform.”

Engstler, a New York native, averaged 10.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.8 steals per game for the Orange this past season while shooting 41.7% from the floor, en route to being named the ACC’s Co-Sixth Player of the Year.

She should have at least two seasons of eligibility remaining. In three seasons at Syracuse, Engstler knocked down 77 three’s and blocked 120 shots in 82 games. Her three-point shooting percentage improved each season, jumping from 25.4% as a freshman to 37.1% this past season.

“I’m grateful to be given a new opportunity during this time in my life,” Engstler said in a statement from Louisville. “I hope for a new beginning that’s filled with hope and much to celebrate.”

Hall played in just eight games this past season as Vanderbilt was one of a handful of Power 5 programs that cut its season short due to COVID-19. Still, Hall started in every one, leading her team in free throw percentage (.824), three-point field goal percentage (83.3), assists (30), and total minutes played (267). She scored a season-high 24 points against then-ranked No. 12 Kentucky on Jan. 12.

A 5’7 guard from Boca Raton, Florida, Hall spent four seasons with the Commodores in Nashville, playing in a total of 92 games – all of which except eight were starts. She was named to the All-SEC Freshman team as a rookie in the 2017-18 season and passed the 1,000-point mark for her career earlier this year.

“Chelsie is a consummate floor general who is poised and plays with great pace,” Walz said. “She is a seasoned SEC guard who has started all four years for the Commodores.”

Hall has never finished a season with a negative assist-turnover ratio and has piled up 317 dimes in her career. She left Vanderbilt with a career 11.3 points-per-game average.

“I am grateful and excited for this new journey,” Hall said. “I can’t wait to be a part of this special program.”

Louisville had just one senior on its roster in Evans, the two-time ACC Player of the Year who is bound for the WNBA. A source close to the situation told The Next that there aren’t any Louisville players in the transfer portal as of Thursday evening.

With these two transfers and two incoming recruits, the Cardinals will have 15 players on their roster. That group includes All-ACC Defender Mykasa Robinson and All-ACC Freshmen Hailey Van Lith and Olivia Cochran.

In addition to Engstler and Hall, the Cards will bring in a pair of highly-touted freshman in Sydni Schetnan and Payton Verhulst this offseason. Verhulst is a 6’1 guard from De Soto, Kansas who is tabbed as the 12th best player in the 2021 class by ESPN. Verhulst also had offers from Notre Dame, UConn, Tennessee, and Oregon. Schetnan is a 6’5 three-star prospect from Sioux Falls, South Dakota who is also expected to play volleyball at Louisville.

Louisville won the ACC regular-season title this past season and finished with a 26-4 record and their sixth appearance in the Elite Eight.