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Detroit Mercy women's basketball's top 3 scorers enter transfer portal amid coach controversy

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Three more Detroit Mercy women's basketball players entered the transfer portal late Tuesday night, bringing the exodus total to five since the university shut down the season amid allegations of verbal, mental and physical abuse by first-year head coach AnnMarie Gilbert.

Junior guard Kaela Webb and sophomore guards Sylare Sparks and Markyia McCormick are the latest to declare their intentions to move on from the program.

Detroit Mercy's Kaela Webb plans to transfer.

Webb is the daughter of Tim Webb, an assistant coach on Gilbert's staff, and came to Detroit Mercy this season from Providence. She is a former Detroit Country Day standout.

Previously, sophomore Annika Corcoran announced her transfer to Akron, and senior guard Aly Reiff entered the portal. Reiff's father said his daughter is undecided on her future — where to keep playing, and whether to stay at Detroit Mercy or move on — but is committed to never again playing for Gilbert.

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Webb (17.7 points), McCormick (9.6) and Starks (6.6) were the three leading scorers this season for the Titans, who were 1-13 and 1-9 in the Horizon League before the season was suspended.

On Jan 21, Detroit Mercy announced it was shutting down the season, after a letter purportedly signed by at least one parent of all 14 players was sent to university administration detailing allegations of abuse by Gilbert — including that she encouraged players to play hurt, and through COVID-19 symptoms. Since, at least one parent whose name was on the letter told The News it was sent without her knowledge or approval.

All 14 players approved of the letter, The News previously reported, and offered to play out the season under a different coach, preferably Webb, but were told that wasn't an option.

Detroit Mercy officials haven't directly addressed contents of the letter, which also was sent to three NCAA officials, with athletic director Robert Vowels saying in a statement Jan. 21 that he talked to players about "their concerns" and the school takes them "seriously."

Gilbert hasn't addressed the allegations — including claims of exceeding allowed practice time, the same issue that landed Eastern Michigan on probation when she coached there — but remains the coach, and remains listed on the athletic department's website.

Gilbert took over for Bernard Scott, who was let go after last season, his fifth.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984