Miami welcomes two international recruits from transfer portal

It’s been a busy off-season for head coach Katie Meier and the Miami women’s basketball team. After an indifferent season, Meier sought international talent to improve her roster. The team will welcome two transfers, Lola Pendande and Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi, for the 2021-22 season.

Last week, the team announced Almeria, Spain native Lola Pendande would be transferring to Miami from the University of Utah. The 6-foot-4 forward spent two years with the Utes and was named Pac-12 All-Freshman Honorable Mention.

“Lola is a strong athletic post with proven ability to compete at the Division I level,” Meier said in a team press release.

Pendande started 38 of 52 games for the Utes and totaled 18 double-digit performances. She averaged 20.1 minutes per game, 8.3 points and 5.2 rebounds.

She also joins the team with a wealth of international experience having represented the Spanish national team at the FIBA level multiple times and being named Star of the Generation by the Spanish National Team. Pendande will be one of three Spanish players on Meier’s roster next year, joining freshman Paula Fraile Ruiz and incoming signee Chiso Okafor.

Last week, the team announced the signing of another transfer, this one from a fellow ACC competitor Syracuse. Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi will be joining the Canes after spending four years wearing the Syracuse Orange. While the jersey color will remain the same, her role will change.

Last season, Djaldi-Tabdi served as a backup center to ACC Freshman of the Year and Co-Defensive Player of the Year Kamilla Cardoso. The former five-star recruit averaged 7.4 points and 3.8 rebounds while appearing in 89 games for Syracuse. However, on a Canes team that desperately needs height, 6-foot-2 Djaldi-Tabdi is expected to have a more active role.

“She can guard anyone and loves defense, but she also has a pretty versatile offensive game, which will really complement our offensive style,” Meier said in a release.

The redshirt junior totaled 31 double-digit games and two double-doubles for the Orange. After redshirting her initial freshman year, she received all All-ACC Freshman Team honors having averaged 8.9 points and 4.8 rebounds in the 2018-19 season.

Originally hailing from Paris, France, Djaldi-Tabdi will be one of three French players on the roster next season, joining forward Naomi Mbandu and sophomore Kenza Salgues. She comes with an impressive international resume having represented France at the FIBA level since 2015.

With the NCAA granting one extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the transfer portal has become common stomping ground for college athletes nationwide. Miami has a head start grabbing two recruits, but there are still more than 750 names in the portal for Division I women’s basketball which means the Canes could be seeing later additions.