Junior transfer makes early impact for women’s basketball

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Junior transfer makes early impact for women’s basketball

Kailee Yan played 22 minutes against Suffolk and scored 10 points. Photo courtesy of Kate Foultz.

Kailee Yan played 22 minutes against Suffolk and scored 10 points. Photo courtesy of Kate Foultz.

Kailee Yan played 22 minutes against Suffolk and scored 10 points. Photo courtesy of Kate Foultz.

Kailee Yan played 22 minutes against Suffolk and scored 10 points. Photo courtesy of Kate Foultz.

By Ethan McDowell

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Following her sophomore year at California Lutheran University, Kailee Yan decided to leave the West Coast and transfer to a school she never saw in person. 

Yan grew up in Mercer Island, Washington and said she never spent time on the East Coast other than visits to New York City and Washington D.C. In her initial college search, Yan said she did not want to leave the West Coast, but this changed after discovering Emerson on the Common Application website.  

“It was a little scary at the time,” Yan said in an interview. “I had another option in California, but I really didn’t want to be in California anymore. I knew that either it was that, my old school, or coming here. This seemed like the best option.” 

In two years on California Lutheran University’s basketball team, Yan appeared in 51 games for the Regals. Yan averaged 6.5 points per game in her sophomore year and led the team in three-point percentage at 35.7 percent. In her first regular season game in a Lions uniform, Yan scored 10 points and grabbed two rebounds off the bench. She made two of six three-point shots and recorded a steal in the Lions’ 59-53 win against Suffolk University

“I didn’t know what she wasshe could be playing a lot better or a lot worse,” head coach Bill Gould said in an interview. “All I know is what I see, and what I see is really good.”

Once her second season ended, Yan began to look elsewhere. Yan said Boston provides more of the urban environment she is comfortable with. 

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“My old campus was kind of in a small suburb of California, like 40 minutes from [Los Angeles] and about half an hour from the beach,” Yan said. “But being an athlete, you don’t have time to go do things. So Boston’s really great because there’s a lot of things to do, and everything is within walking distance.”

Yan said she is planning on using her experience to contribute immediately, and Gould said Yan is already fitting in great with the Lions. 

“She’s doing really well for us, and I’m really happy that she’s here,” Gould said. “I think she’s going to make a big impact on our team, and I’m really excited.”

Gould said the team is beginning to adopt a modern style of basketball that does not focus on positions, and Yan will help make that transition smoother. 

“We have really versatile and really smart kids, and she fits right in,” Gould said. “If I wanted to go back to a traditional offense, she would be a great point guard for us. She’s a great player in this offense because she’s so versatile.” 

Yan describes her playing style as unselfish, but said she likes to score her own points as well. The Lions’ balanced style of play excites Yan. 

“Everyone’s going to get an opportunity on offense to score just because of the way that we will be playing,” Yan said. “Our defense is going to be super aggressive, so I think that’s also really great.”

The Lions lost two impactful players to graduation last year—Charlie Boyle ‘19 and Natalie Busch ‘19, who had a combined average of 20.4 points per game. The Lions will have to find a way to replace that scoring this season, and Gould said Yan will help fill that role. 

“[Busch] was a really smart kind of combo guard that could do a little bit of everything, and Kailee is very similar to that,” Gould said. “She’s really crafty with the ball, smart, really understands the game, can shoot, is a good passer, and she can finish inside.” 

Yan and the Lions play their first home game of the season against Gordon College on Thursday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m.