COLLEGE PARK – After one season with the University of Maryland Women’s Basketball team, guard/forward Eleanna Christinaki has elected to return home to Europe to play with the Greece National Team this summer before signing to play with a professional club team next season, the athletic department announced on June 22.
The six-foot versatile player transferred last year from Florida after a season and a half. After leaving the Gators program following a disagreement with the coaching staff, The Washington Post reported several European clubs sent offers to Christinaki before she chose to go to College Park.
“I am so thankful for everyone at Maryland for the opportunity to be a part of this program,” Christinaki said in a statement released on June 22. “I love my teammates, the coaches and the fans that welcomed me. After lots of talks with my family, I have decided I will play professionally closer to home in Europe.”
The former Terp made a quick impression by scoring a career-high 32 points in her debut game, Maryland’s 114-45 win at Coppin State on Dec. 20. Despite starting 28 games for Florida, Christinaki accepted her role coming off the bench at the start of the season. As starter Blair Watson’s season ended early due to a torn ACL injury, Christinaki filled in her role.
“If I am not on the starting line-up and [it will] fix the problem, then I would prefer coming off the bench,” Christinake said after losing to Michigan State on Jan. 11. “I want this team to be Maryland and play Maryland basketball.”
Despite receiving more playing time, Christinaki was unable to stay consistent in her scoring. She scored in the single-digits nine times, including only four points in Maryland’s 79-69 loss against Ohio State in the Big Ten women’s basketball Tournament Final.
She finished the season as Maryland’s third-leading scorer, averaging 11.8 points per game with 4.6 rebounds in 16 stars. Christinaki was named All-Big Ten Team honorable mention and was on the Big Ten Player of the Week Honor Roll twice.
“We are excited for Eleanna that she will be living out her dream to become a pro,” Frese said. “We pride ourselves with the number of players we have helped earn that opportunity while playing here at Maryland. We appreciate all that she has meant to our team and program. We wish her all the best.”
With the loss of Christinaki, the Lady Terps lose their third leading scorer while the roster appears thinner with only six players returning according to their most updated roster. Creating depth with their incoming recruiting class, ranked fourth by ESPN, will be essential for Maryland’s attempt to bounce back after a disappointing end to their 2017-18 campaign.
The return of Watson from injury will boost the Terrapins without Christinaki. Watson, a six-foot guard from Nutley, New Jersey, averaged 17.9 points a game with 4.2 rebounds in the 17 games she played. Maryland added more depth in the guard position when they announced the addition of transfer Sara Vujačić from Walters State Community College in Morristown, Tennessee on April 18.
Meanwhile, Riverdale Baptist grad Shakria Austin will add depth in the forward slot with rising senior Brianna Fraser and upcoming junior Stephanie Jones.