By Pranay Malempati | Sports Writer, Video by Nate Smith | Broadcast Reporter
Baylor women’s basketball announced Monday morning that the team will be bringing in sophomore transfer point guard Jaden Owens for this upcoming season.
Owens, a native of Plano, played at UCLA this past season and said that being close to home is important to her.
“When I entered the transfer portal, I wanted somewhere that would be close to home,” Owens said. “I live in Dallas so it’s really not that far from home. It’s an easy drive for my parents. I would be able to see my family a lot and that’s something I’m huge on.”
Because of current NCAA transfer rules, Owens will have to sit out a year while still maintaining a possible two to three years of college eligibility after the 2020-2021 season. The NCAA proposed a one-time transfer waiver in February that would allow student athletes in football, baseball, men’s and women’s basketball and men’s ice hockey to be eligible to play immediately after transferring, but the vote was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nevertheless, Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said in a statement welcoming Owens to the team that she was excited to work with the Plano native.
“Being a young lady from Texas, we are quite aware of the talent she brings to our program,” Mulkey said. “Her experience is an added addition to our backcourt. I’m looking forward to working with her as soon as we can all get back together on campus.”
This is the third straight season that Baylor has brought in a transfer point guard. Owens follows graduate transfers Chloe Jackson and Te’a Cooper.
The success that Jackson and Cooper had the last two seasons is something that Owens said had an impact on her decision to come to Baylor.
“Knowing how Mulkey lets her point guards play, and the history behind [Jackson and Cooper], they come in, they’re transfers, and I would be a transfer as well. Seeing what they can do, they come in for their last year and make an impact,” Owens said. “I just want to come in knowing I have a few more years to go. I want to make an impact from the jump and in the long run.”
A five-star recruit coming out of high school, Owens was ranked as the No. 14 recruit in the nation for the 2019 class.
However, she did not receive much playing time last season. She averaged just 9.6 minutes per game while backing up All PAC-12 point guard Japreece Dean. Owens averaged 2.5 points, 1.2 assists and 0.6 steals per contest.
Owens spoke positively of her experience at UCLA. She said that her decision to transfer was not because of anything that happened at her former university.
“I love UCLA,” Owens said. “It was an amazing school, an amazing program. I feel like it was just a decision that me and my family decided to make. It had nothing to do with UCLA. Nothing happened. I just think it was going to be the best fit for me to come here, to Baylor.”
Owens said that she sees herself as a distributor and a leader on the floor.
“Setting [my teammates] up for success, that’s one thing I really take pride in as a point guard,” Owens said. “It’s not all about me scoring and me making those great passes. It’s just getting them the passes for them to be successful.”