The Florida State Women’s Basketball team added talented 6-foot-2 forward Kiah Gillespie on Wednesday morning after the former Maryland student-athlete officially filed her paperwork to the university.
Gillespie (first name pronounced Kai-Uh) is a 2015 McDonald’s All-American from Meriden, Conn., who spent her first two years with the Terrapins. Due to NCAA transfer rules, she will sit out the 2017-18 season but as a rising junior she will have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in the 2018-19 academic year.
"I am very excited about Kiah joining our Seminole family,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “She brings a multi-faceted skill set, good size and a high basketball IQ on the court. She will spend this season learning our system, working on her individual game and challenging our other players as a member of our scout team. Kiah has a great personality which is something we count on in building strong team chemistry."
Gillespie was a heralded recruit out of Capital Prep Magnet, being named the Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year twice. She was rated the No. 14 overall player by Prospect Nation as well as the No. 2 player at her position.
While at Maryland, Gillespie made an impact right away by starting her first collegiate game against UMass-Lowell, scoring 15 points with eight rebounds in 21 minutes. In her second career game against High Point, she recorded a career-best 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting in 22 minutes.
As a freshman at Maryland, Gillespie averaged 5.1 points in 10.9 minutes per game, and averaged 4.1 points as a sophomore in the 2016-17 season.
Gillespie is part of the growing trend of 6-footers who have extended range. She can knock down a 3-pointer or makes plays from the high post. While with the Terrapins, she once nailed three 3-point field goals against Detroit on Nov. 20, 2015.
While in high school, Gillespie reached 1,000 career points in just three years and posted some memorable stat lines while dominating the amateur circuit in Connecticut. As a senior, she averaged 31.2 points and 16.2 rebounds and totaled 2,208 career points.
As a junior, Gillespie averaged 22.4 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.1 steals and two blocks per game. She was honored as the New Haven Register Player of the Year as a senior.
Gillespie could be in line to join a sizeable list of recent FSU transfers who have enjoyed great success with the Seminoles. Current rising seniors Imani Wright and Chatrice White are coming off years as impactful transfers, while point guard Leticia Romero finished her career as the first three-time All-American in FSU history.
Other notable transfers from recent years include two-time All-American center Adut Bulgak and point guard Maegan Conwright, who was a key figure in FSU making a run to the 2015 NCAA Elite Eight.
Gillespie comes to a program that is experiencing a great period of prosperity. Florida State has made three NCAA Elite Eight appearances over the last eight years, has been ranked in the Top 15 of the USA Today Poll for 49 straight weeks and has posted its three winningest seasons in ACC play in each of the last three years.
Over the last three years FSU is also one of just six schools whom have finished in the Top 10 in scoring margin in each season. The Seminoles have reached the NCAA Tournament in 12 of the last 13 seasons, and have won their first round matchup in the tournament in each of their last 14 appearances.
Gillespie joins a strong transfer class this offseason that includes graduate transfer and All-Big 12 point guard AJ Alix from TCU and Junior College All-American forward Hatty Nawezhi. She will join rising senior center Ama Degbeon (6-foot-2), forward Iho Lopez (6-foot-2), White (6-foot-3) and Nawezhi (6-foot-2) among the 6-foot players on the team.