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Women’s basketball: Ex-Jayhawks starter opts to transfer to New Mexico

Lawrence, Kan., was no place like home for Aisia Robertson.

After growing up San Francisco’s Bay Area, Robertson never quite got comfortable in two seasons with the University of Kansas women’s basketball team. She’s hoping Albuquerque will be a better fit.

“It felt like home,” said Robertson, who visited the University of New Mexico campus last week and committed to transfer Sunday. “The coaches were genuine, the girls were cool, it just reminded me of home. I liked that feeling.”

From a geographical standpoint, the 5-foot-8 guard could have landed much closer to her old stomping grounds. San Jose State, Cal State Bakersfield and San Francisco were among the schools she considered for her transfer.

But UNM offered the up-tempo style and basketball-crazy fan base Robertson craved. Once she got positive vibes from the coaching staff and Albuquerque, Robertson was ready to become a Lobo.

“I bring energy,” she said, “a lot of energy. I love to fight, on defense especially, and if the crowd is into it, it just fuels me to go even harder.”

Robertson got her share of high-level competition at Kansas, facing the likes of Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas in Big 12 play. She appeared in every game during her two seasons in Lawrence, making 24 starts and averaging 4.6 points and 3.8 rebounds overall.

The Jayhawks struggled, however, going 14-47 over the past two seasons. Combine that with an ongoing bout of homesickness, and Robertson decided it was time to consider a transfer.

“Playing time wasn’t really an issue,” she said. “I played quite a bit. I just wanted to be closer to home and family. Getting to Kansas wasn’t as easy for them as we thought it would be, and Albuquerque is a direct flight.”

Robertson will have to sit out the 2017-18 season under NCAA transfer rules and is not necessarily looking forward to that prospect. But she’s come to grips with the idea and plans to attack her scout-team duties with enthusiasm.

“It’ll give me a chance to get to know the community, learn coach (Mike) Bradbury’s system and get to know what my teammates can do,” Robertson said. “Hopefully, it will make us all better.”

Robertson has two years of eligibility remaining and believes Bradbury’s planned dribble-drive system will allow her to make the most of them.

“He likes to get up and down,” Robertson said, “and that’s what I’ve done my whole life. I feel like New Mexico is a place I can showcase my talents, and I’m excited to get there.”

Coming out of Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, Calif., Robertson was rated as the 84th and 85th best player overall by two national recruiting services. She’ll complete the spring semester at Kansas and plans to relocate to Albuquerque during the summer.