Credit: Kyle Calzia | Mustang News

Sophomore guard Abbey Ellis’ decision to transfer from Cal Poly to Purdue University was “one of the toughest decisions” she had to make in her basketball career.

“I was 50-50, I did not know what I wanted to do,” Ellis said. “That was the toughest decision because I made friendships and was established here.”

After narrowing her choices of schools to commit to Stanford, Illinois, Rutgers and Purdue, Ellis revealed through social media on April 16 that she was going to pursue her playing career at Purdue because of the connection she built with their coaches, the opportunity for immediate playing time and to play in a bigger conference.

“I came to America for basketball, so I do not want to hold myself down when I could be going to a bigger conference,” Ellis said.

The Australian native also explained that her decision to transfer was purely a basketball decision, hoping to help improve the Boilermakers’ 7-16 record last season as she will take her skillset and her knowledge from Head Coach Faith Mimnaugh to Purdue.

“[Mimnaugh] modeled me into what Cal Poly needed and it suited what kind of player I want to be,” Ellis said. “She taught me work ethic on and off the court and leadership skills.”

While the opportunity of playing in a bigger conference presented itself, there were other factors in San Luis Obispo that played a part as well. The women’s basketball team will lose guards Chantel Govan, Malia Holt and Hannah Peterson to graduation.

“They are such big role players and personalities in the team,” Ellis said. “We lost a lot of leadership. It was a big blow and it definitely impacted my decision.”

Ellis’ close friend on the team Sierra Campisano decided to pursue a career in the WNBA instead of coming back for her sixth year of eligibility, which also influenced Ellis’ decision.

“I told her that if she stays a sixth year then I will stay,” Ellis said.

Ellis was selected to the Big West Conference All-Freshman Team after averaging 15.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. Ellis recorded a career-high 39 points in a 73-63 victory against San Diego State and hit game-winning buzzer-beaters against Lamar and Long Beach State.

Ellis also helped the Mustangs make the semifinals of the Big West Tournament both years at Cal Poly, however, the tournament was canceled due to COVID-19 her first year before the Mustangs played their semifinal game.

“It was heartbreaking,” Ellis said. “We worked so hard, and it was just a long season for it to end like that.” 

Although Ellis’s career at Cal Poly has come to an end, she cherishes her time at Cal Poly.

“The community and the team at San Luis Obispo make you feel like you have a second home,” Ellis said. “You have people that care about you and want you to be the best person and player that you can be.”

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