November 9, 2018 10:09:19 AM
STARKVILLE -- Patty Espinoza-Hunter hopes to be able to rack up some frequent flier miles.
Unfortunately, the mother of Mississippi State women's basketball transfer Andra Espinoza-Hunter won't be able to make No. 6 MSU's game against Virginia at 6 p.m. Friday in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Still, she plans to find a way to travel from Ossining, New York, to see her daughter play this season after Andra learned Wednesday night the NCAA cleared her to be eligible to play.
"Andra called me and said, 'I just got cleared to play,' " Patty Espinoza-Hunter said Thursday. "She has been a little stressed, so I said, 'OK, Andra, who told you that.' I didn't believe she was serious. I am super excited for her. I think they did the right thing."
Patty said Andra kept her updated through the process after the transfer from Connecticut and that she feels her daughter is prepared to step right in.
"She wanted to stay at the level she was, so she was getting extra workouts so she was getting stronger and better. I told her to keep working hard so whenever you were ruled eligible she could be ready. She really has been working hard because she really wanted to play."
Espinoza-Hunter, a 5-foot-11 standout from Ossining, New York, scored 14 points in seven games as a freshman at UConn before she transferred to MSU in February 2018. She will have three years of eligibility remaining.
ESPN rated Espinoza-Hunter the No. 16 player in the Class of 2017. Blue Star Media rated her the No. 10 prospect. She was the 2017 New York Gatorade Player of the Year, co-Miss New York State Basketball, and a finalist for Gatorade National Player of the Year after scoring 995 points as a senior to guide Ossining High School to the State Class AA finals.
Espinoza-Hunter, who reached the 2,000-career point mark in her final prep season, averaged 36.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 3.0 steals per game in her high school career.
In August, Espinoza-Hunter told The Dispatch her time at UConn was "good," but she said it wasn't a "good fit" for her. She said a lot of people speculated she decided to transfer due to a lack of playing time, but she stressed it wasn't a good fit for her.
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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