LEXINGTON, Ky. – Eniya (eh-NIGH-uh) Russell, who played in 23 games for the 2022 national champion South Carolina Gamecocks, and Ajae (pronounced like Asia) Petty, who was one of the top post players coming out of high school in 2020 and played 31 career games at LSU, have signed with head coach Kyra Elzy and the University of Kentucky women’s basketball program as undergraduate transfers. Both players will have three years of eligibility remaining with the 2022-23 season being their junior season collegiately.
Russell and Petty are the eighth and ninth newcomers that Kentucky will welcome to the 2022-23 roster, joining Buffalo graduate transfer Adebola Adeyeye (Brampton, ON, Canada), four-star guard Kennedy Cambridge (Nashville, Tennessee), four-star post Tionna Herron (DeSoto, Texas), Miss Kentucky Basketball Amiya Jenkins (Lawrenceburg, Kentucky), in-state star guard Cassidy Rowe (Virgie, Kentucky), All-Ohio performer Zennia Thomas (Lyndhurst, Ohio) and four-star guard Saniah Tyler (Florissant, Missouri).
“Eniya is a player that we absolutely loved when we recruited her in high school and we are excited that she has decided to join the Wildcat program this time around,” Elzy said. “Eniya has great size on the perimeter, has elite athleticism and is very skilledly. She can score at all three offensive levels and her ability to score out of the ball screen action will open up our offense. We have obviously followed her first two years collegiately at South Carolina and think her style of play is going to fit our program perfectly.
“Ajae is an extremely talented interior player that we are happy to have join our program,” Elzy said. “She was a player that we evaluated and recruited out of high school. Her size, athleticism and physicality are something we needed to add to the roster. She has veteran experience in our league, which will allow her the opportunity to flourish in our system I cannot wait to get her on campus this summer and get to work.”
Below is a detailed look at what Russell and Petty will bring to Lexington next season.
Eniya Russell, 6-1, Guard, Baltimore, Maryland (Saint Vincent Pallotti High School/South Carolina)
S.C. (2021-22) – Played in 49 career games for South Carolina, averaging 2.5 points and 1.1 rebounds per game … As a sophomore in 2021-22, she helped the Gamecocks win the 2022 NCAA National Championship, playing in 23 games with 7.7 minutes per game … Averaged 1.3 rebounds and 2.3 points per game as a sophomore, hitting 42 percent from the field and long range … Best game in 2021-22 was eight points with four rebounds against Mississippi State … Had five points against Creighton in the Sweet 16, hitting a 3-pointer … Played in 26 games as a freshman, including all 16 league games and five appearances in the NCAA Tournament … Scored a season-high 14 points against College of Charleston in her collegiate debut … Also scored double figures against Temple with 11 … Had eight points against top-25 ranked Iowa State, hitting a 3 … Named to the 2021 SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll.
High School- Ranked No. 43 overall in the Class of 2020 by ESPN.com … Earned a spot on the 2020 McDonald’s All-America East Team … Captured First-Team All-Metro honors from the Washington Post in 2020 and the Baltimore Sun and 2019 … Scored 14.9 points per game in her senior season, which was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic … As a junior, she averaged 18 points and four assists to lead Saint Vincent Pallotti to its first appearance in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference titlegame.
Ajae Petty, 6-3, Forward, Baltimore, Md. (Baltimore Polytechnic Institute/LSU)
LSU (2020-22) – Played in 31 career games across two seasons at LSU … As a freshman in 2021, she appeared in 19 games finishing the year with 18 rebounds, 17 points, two blocks and one assist … Scored a season-high five points against Auburn as a freshman … As a sophomore, she played in 12 games … Had a career-best 12 points against Samford, going 5-of-6 from the field … Added six rebounds against Texas Southern last season … Named to 2021 First-year SEC Academic Honor Roll .
High School- Played senior season at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute … The Engineers were 22-1 and ranked No. 1, advancing as far as the 3A state semifinals before the season shutdown … Team won third straight Baltimore City title in February 2020 … Was a top stock riser in Summer 2019 on the AAU circuit playing for Power Move … Was No. 1 post player and No. 16 overall in Next Sports Phenom Class of 2020 Top 100 ranking … Played her junior year at the Institute of Notre Dame, averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds per game … As a freshman and sophomore, played at New Town High School, the Maryland 2A state champions in 2017 … Averaged 14.8 points and 11.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore at New Town.
Staff – First name is pronounced like “Asia.”
For more information on the Kentucky women’s basketball team, visit UKathletics.com or follow @KentuckyWBB on TwitterInstagram, Facebook and TikTok.