After playing just 22 games in a Maryland uniform, Eleanna Christinaki is moving on. Head coach Brenda Frese announced Friday that after playing for the Greek National Team this summer, Christinaki will stay in Europe and play professionally, forgoing her senior season.
According to a March story by The Washington Post, Christinaki was “flooded” with offers to play in Europe after she left Florida in December 2016.
The move ends what has been a whirlwind of a collegiate career for Christinaki. She averaged 10.4 points per game in her freshman year at Florida and 17.6 points per game during her sophomore year before abruptly leaving the team after refusing a suspension. She transferred to Maryland just three weeks after leaving the Gators, and had to sit out a full year before becoming eligible following the end of the 2017 fall semester.
She dazzled with 32 points in her Maryland debut against Coppin State on Dec. 20, but her time as a Terp was up-and-down after that. In the next six games, she averaged just 7.8 points per game while shooting 32 percent from the field before scoring 26 points in a blowout win over Ohio State. Following back-to-back games where she scored 15 and 20 points against Northwestern and Rutgers, she struggled in Maryland’s final 10 games, scoring 10.2 points a game on 30.7 percent shooting.
Christinaki’s departure leaves Maryland with just 10 players on its roster, the same number the Terps had last season. But unlike last year, when Maryland was coming off losing two All-Americans and four player to transfers, this year’s team has a solid nucleus returning and a top-5 recruiting class coming in.
How much Christinaki will be missed, at least early on, depends on the health of Blair Watson. Watson is Maryland’s only returning wing who played serious minutes last year, and although Kaila Charles is listed as a guard, she spent more time playing the 3 and 4 and is more of a slasher with a mid-range jumper than an outside shooting threat. If Watson is not ready for the start of the season, freshman Taylor Mikesell or junior college transfer Sarah Vujacic will probably see a lot of time, and Sarah Myers could get a chance to play off the ball more after spending last year as a back-up point guard.
Maryland will also need one of its wings to develop into an outside threat, something Christinaki did at times last year. With Kristen Confroy graduating, Watson is the team’s only known 3-point shooter. Both Mikesell and Vujacic are known for their shooting prowess, but it may take some time before that makes a difference in Division I play.