UPDATED: Anna DeWolfe Transfers to Notre Dame

Fordham women’s basketball mainstay will finish out college career with Fighting Irish in Indiana



Ana DeWolfe, FCRH ’23, lays the ball up against VCU.

Fordham women’s basketball star Anna DeWolfe, Fordham College at Rose Hill ’23, has officially moved to the University of Notre Dame’s (UND) Fighting Irish through the transfer portal. Due to COVID-19, DeWolfe had an extra year of eligibility and has decided to spend it with one of the best teams in the country. The Fighting Irish are renowned for their developmental work — nine former players are currently on WNBA rosters.

“We are so excited to welcome Anna to our Notre Dame family,” Notre Dame Head Coach Niele Ivey said in a press release. “She will bring experience and a dynamic skill set that will translate well into our system.”

According to a source within Fordham Athletics’ Communications Department, DeWolfe had been planning to transfer since shortly after the end of the season. Recently minted Head Coach Bridgette Mitchell was aware of DeWolfe’s plans to transfer and did not account for her presence on the roster in preparation for the 2023-24 season.

While wearing the Rams’ uniform, DeWolfe became an impactful player and icon for the program. Across her four years here, she scored over 1,800 points with an average of 17 per game. She was named the 2020-21 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and made the All-Conference Team for the third year in a row at the conclusion of the 2022-23 season. 

Her ability to stretch the floor has been impressive and invaluable for Fordham. The Rams have struggled to diversify their shooters, but it hardly mattered whenever DeWolfe had the ball. She knocked down threes at a 33% rate, draining 238 over four years and 79 in the 2022-23 season alone.

The Fighting Irish had a 15-3 record and made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA championship tournament last year; they have appeared in 18 Sweet 16s prior, posting a 10-9 record. Notre Dame has played in 94 March Madness games and is 69-25 in the tournament. They have advanced past the first round 85% of the time. Suffice to say, Notre Dame offers an enticing opportunity for a player of DeWolfe’s caliber.

Notre Dame plays in an undeniably higher tier of basketball than Fordham, competing in the elite Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The roster features sharpshooters such as Sonia Citron, UND ’25, and Maddy Westbeld, UND ’24. DeWolfe will likely have more freedom to develop her myriad of already-strong skills and will excel when playing off others. It remains to be seen how the Fighting Irish coaching staff will leverage DeWolfe’s proven abilities, which range from her shooting to her slashing and off-ball movement. 

The transfer also comes on the heels of a change in the coaching staff in the Bronx. Interim Head Coach Candice Green has stepped down to make way for Mitchell, the official replacement for former Head Coach Stephanie Gaitley. Green was once an assistant under Gaitley. With Mitchell’s ascension, the remainder of Gaitley’s assistants — Liz Brown, Anita Jennings and Lauren Holden — and holdouts from the 2021-22 season, were released from the team.   

It is also unclear what direction recruiting will take next year. The Fordham team has a lot of paths laid out before them, and Mitchell’s game plan for the team has yet to be made public. However, with Gaitley’s tenure in the past, changes are coming. Mitchell has declared her intention to come to Fordham ready for a recruitment push, and her staff will likely be prowling the transfer portal.

“There’s been years in between that. And so it’s more of like a reviving,” Mitchell told The Next, “Very similar to what I had success with at Northeastern.”

With a lot of movement on the horizon, uncertainty looms in the future for the Fordham women’s basketball team.

While DeWolfe is the first to depart, she won’t be the last. Sarah Karpell, Gabelli School of Business at Rose Hill ’23, is not returning to the team despite having another year of eligibility. Karpell has been with Fordham since the beginning of her career. She consistently improved and officially posted her best statistical performances last season, scoring 4.7 points and 3.2 assists per game.

Everything must come to an end, and last year was the final hurrah of Gaitley’s decadelong saga. Gaitley radically transformed the Rams, and the development of individual players can be attributed to her successful coaching. With the burden of winning on their shoulders, the new Rams will have to redefine themselves while upholding the legacy of a transformative and highly effective coaching system.