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Following suspension, leading scorer Destiny Pitts leaves Gopher women's hoops

File photo - Destiny Pitts Photo: KSTP Sports
File photo - Destiny Pitts

Updated: January 16, 2020 06:35 PM

On the heels of an indefinite suspension levied by head coach Lindsay Whalen, junior and leading scorer Destiny Pitts is leaving the Gopher womens' basketball program.

Pitts announced her intent to transfer on social media Thursday.

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In her statement, Pitts says the suspension stemmed from "my 'body language' during the Northwestern game." That game, on Jan. 9th, was the last Pitts played.

She was suspended from the Gophers following game against Illinois on Saturday and was not slated to play Thursday night against Iowa.

In her regular pregame media availability on Wednesday, Whalen declined to offer details of Pitts' suspension or for the suspension of twins Taiye and Kehinde Bello.

UPDATE: 6:34PM THURSDAY:  Whalen released the following statement via e-mail:

"From Coach Whalen: We learned this afternoon that Destiny Pitts intends to enter the transfer portal. As I said yesterday, I will always respect the privacy of a student-athlete and will continue to do so. We wish Destiny the best moving forward."  

Click here to watch Lindsey Whalen's press conference from Wednesday, January 15th that includes a prepared statement and discussion about Destiny Pitts' suspension

"As this was my first discipline situation of my career at Minnesota (or as a basketball player at any level), I was blindsided and shocked by the suspension," Pitts statement says. "As a result, I have taken the past few days to reevaluate my current situation to determine the best path for me moving forward. After much reflection, thought and advice from those closest to me, I have decided to enter the Transfer Portal to further my academic and athletic journey in an environment that will support me, while I develop into the person I want to become."

Pitts statement also says teammates and twins Taiye and Kehinde Bello were suspended after they chose to sit out the Gophers game against Illinois as a measure of protest against Pitts' suspension.

"The Bello sisters went above and beyond - as teammates and as friends - by sitting out last weekend's trip to Illinois in protest of a suspension they know is wrong," Pitts says in the statement. "Thank y'all from the bottom of my heart."

Whalen said Wednesday the Bellos had rejoined the team at practice, but their availability for Thursday's game against Iowa was to be determined. 

Pitts had not been practicing since the suspension.

Whalen said the two suspensions - Pitts and the Bellos - were unrelated.

Pitts' statement also includes thanks to members of the Gopher women's basketball program including teammates, fans and support staff.

The accompanying tweet that contained the statement said, "I wish Coach Whalen and her staff nothing but the best."

Pitts was the Gophers leading scorer this season, she was first team All-Big Ten as a sophomore last season.

She ended the 2018-19 season ranked sixth in team history in career 3-pointers made (171) and attempted (471), and ninth in 3-point percentage (.363) - according to her biography on the Gopher Athletics website.

Pitts is eligible to transfer immediately. Per NCAA rules, the timing of when she could play for a new school depends on several factors.

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Chris Long

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