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Originally published Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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UW Women | Huskies' Jess McCormack quits team

Jess McCormack, a promising 6-foot-5 freshman forward-center for the Washington women's basketball team, has decided to quit the Huskies...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Jess McCormack, a promising 6-foot-5 freshman forward-center for the Washington women's basketball team, has decided to quit the Huskies to pursue playing opportunities elsewhere, coach Tia Jackson said Tuesday.

McCormack is the second player to quit the team this season. Both were part of the six-player freshman recruiting class signed last year by former coach June Daugherty. Guard Candice Nichols of Long Beach, Calif., quit just before the season opener.

McCormack, a native of Auckland, New Zealand, was one of two incoming freshmen who filed appeals to be released from their letters of intent after Daugherty was fired. Forward Katelan Redmon of Spokane was the other. Both players had their appeals denied and joined the team.

Redmon is the leading scorer, at 12 points per game, for a UW team that is 11-15 overall and 6-8 in Pac-10 play.

McCormack started 14 of the 19 games she played, despite a few injuries. She averaged 7.7 points and 4.5 rebounds.

"It's just been multiple reasons," she said of her decision to leave. "It's just kind of added up and just hasn't worked out to be the right spot for me. It hasn't felt completely right this whole year and I just want to be comfortable with where I am, and it just hasn't quite worked out that way, unfortunately."

McCormack said she plans to stay in class through the end of the winter quarter, then return home to continue preparations to play for the New Zealand national team in the 2008 Olympics in August. She was the youngest player ever selected to the team at age 15 in 2005.

She said she might return to the United States to finish her college career later.

"I'm going to go home for the Olympic commitments, continue with that, and then talk it over with my parents," she said. "Hopefully I'll come back to the States somewhere, but I have no idea where at this moment."

Jackson made two overseas trips to persuade McCormack to follow through on her commitment to UW after getting hired last April.

Jackson said McCormack told her of her decision to leave over the weekend and termed it "a complete surprise." Jackson said she thought "adjusting to college life and being so far away from home" had been "a challenge" for McCormack. She added she was disappointed to lose a player "that had tremendous potential."

"But if this is what's going to make her happy, then I'm all for it," she said.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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