IUWBB: Laken Wairau leaves women’s basketball program, intends to stay at IU as a student

Reserve guard Laken Wairau is no longer with the Indiana women’s basketball team, the program announced Friday.

Wairau, a sophomore from Christchurch, New Zealand, played sparingly in nearly two seasons.
“We want to thank Laken for her contributions to Indiana Women’s Basketball and wish her the best in her future endeavors,” IU coach Teri Moren said in a statement.
Wairau is the third player to leave the program this offseason. Redshirt sophomore Tia Elbert intends to graduate in the fall and will forgo her final two years of eligibility with IU. Freshman Ria Gulley, the Hoosiers’ first guard off the bench this season, wants to transfer to a school closer to her home in Texas.
The subtractions of Wairau, Elbert and Gulley do thin the bench for the Hoosiers. IU will graduate five seniors from this year’s team. Only a handful of players with meaningful experience in games are set to return in 2017-18.
Two of those returnees are All-Big Ten talents Tyra Buss and Amanda Cahil. IU will also count on sophomore Kym Royster and freshmen Bre Wickware and Darby Foresman to possibly take on bigger roles. Five freshmen, along with Ntore Dame transfer Ali Patberg, will help augment the Hoosiers’ losses this offseason. A group full of news faces and personalities will have to jell, though.
Wairau first arrived in the middle of the ’15-16 campaign, because  Moren was searching for more depth on a thin roster. She played a total of nine minutes in two seasons, and hit a career 1-of-5 from the floor. The 5-foot-10 guard has now decided to focus on academics.
“At this time, I am choosing to step away from basketball to focus on continuing my education at Indiana University,” Wairau said in a statement. “I still very much love Bloomington and am excited about completing my degree in two years. I would like to thank Indiana Women’s Basketball for supporting me in this decision and I wish the program continued success.”


  1. This is certainly not a surprise. She has played 9 minutes in 2 years. She, as the article stated at the time she was added to the roster was simply to add depth in practice and such. It is not a surprise that a player would drop out when you consider all the time that is needed to be a member of the team through practice and off season workouts when the girls are in summer school like most are. When you are considered the last player on the end of the bench with almost no playing time, why would you want to continue putting in all that time associated with basketball. Now I am sure some will jump on here and make a big deal about this? Oh well, it is to be expected.

  2. Just a running tally of people who have transferred/grad trans/quit the team. I could take these kids and beat our current roster. Good thing we held off announcing this until we hosted the Pitt girl and patberg.
    Laken wairu*
    Ria gulley*
    Tia elbert*
    Jess walter
    Victoria kemokai*
    Lindsey leikem
    Liz stratman
    Maura muensterman
    Taylor agler
    Larryn Brooks
    Kaila hulls
    Clare jacibucek

    Asterisk denotes moren recruit..not gonna put injured kids or walk ons that quit the team

    1. Laken Wairau – Leaving the team and remaining a student at IU. Ria Gulley – Transferring after 1 season.
      Tia Elbert – Will graduate early with a degree form Indiana University.
      Jess Walter – Transferred after 2 seasons to University of Nebraska-Omaha. I miss Jess.
      Victoria Kemokai – Junior College recruit that never enrolled due to personal family reasons.
      Lyndsay Leikem – Graduated early with a degree form Indiana University.
      Liz Stratman – Graduated with a degree from Indiana University.
      Maura Muensterman – Transferred after I season to Belmont. Taylor Agler – Transferred after 2 seasons to Ohio University.
      Larryn Brooks – Transferred after 2 seasons to Texas Tech.
      Kaila Hulls – Graduated with a degree form Indiana University.
      Claire Jakubicek – Graduated with a degree from Indiana University.

      I wish Laken the very best. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to come half way around the world without knowing anyone and find herself at Assembly Hall with all of us crazies in the stands. Basketball was the vehicle that delivered her to Indiana University and now she can concentrate on her academics and enjoy being a college student. I am confident that she will be very successful in whatever she desires to do.

  3. This news was already made public when it was reported the new transfer from N Dame was going to wear the number 14 jersey. This was Liken’s number.

  4. I only count Ria Gulley as only T. Moren recruit to transfer that T.M. recruited and have a chance to legitimately play.

  5. As always, the doom and gloomer has shown up. You can always count on it just like the sun coming up tomorrow.

    1. A (long) list of names is just a stated fact. Not doom and gloom. Not even upset that wairu is leaving, that’s one person who was never going to meaningfully contribute besides on the scout team. Just saying I could coach a team of moren rejects and beat the team that remains here.

      1. Which is why you are a D1 coach at a Power Five school making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. That’s pretty obvious. Because, if you are not, that statement makes you sound like a fool.

        Or would that be too big a step down from your current position?

      2. Hoosierfan – It’s pretty upsetting to have your ignorance thrown anywhere near these ladies (for those still on the team or those that decided to leave). At least you have the sense to label those that left as quality talent, but I don’t want to put words into your mouth so correct me if I’m wrong there.

        Point being, I’m not sure what you’re so upset about. Moren has done an incredible job thus far after three seasons (two full offseasons). Give her a chance and I’m sure you’ll be very happy with the results. Keep in mind, this team is extremely competitive in the big ten now and still getting better.

  6. Just one thing Hoosierfan, it’s easy to say what you say when you are in your basement typing on a computer. The fact is, none of the the players that transferred have stood out yet at their respective universities. So you stating you could beat the current team with those players is a bit far fetched? Tallman15, good to hear from you.

  7. I would find this nothing but a valuable positive. Opening a scholarship from someone who rarely played for a talent who can contribute more is good for any program.

  8. So how does that work since she is staying at the school, doesnt she keep the scholarship. Does it still open one up for the bball program?

  9. Hoosier fan you need to move on. This site is more of a fan Club than a place for different opinions. Coach Moren has done a good job coaching the last two years. We also have a good class coming in. Those are facts I don’t really understand Swartzies list of players who left. It’s common knowledge why Liz Kaila Lindsey left. acting like they left because they graduated is a joke. Kemokai was thrown out of cook during summer workouts by our coach and vanished. I don’t know if people are totally ignorant of what’s gone on the last couple of years or just don’t care. I’d love to move on but yet tired of seeing fake news on here. I think we’ll be good and Coach morn will do a good job. Let’s stop acting like nothing’s happened the last couple of years.

  10. Why is everyone who disagrees with you always in their basement mike ? Love your sarcasm Chet . Can’t wait to meet you . You’re a funny guy . And so smart . Tall guy the only thing ignorant about Hoosier fan is they don’t realize they’re wasting their time . They obviously know a lot about what’s gone on the last few years with player treatment something most people know nothing about and Hoosier fan most people don’t care . Let it go .

  11. Transfer update for those who may be interested: Destiny Slocum who was freshman of the year at Maryland this past season who announced a couple of weeks ago she was transferring has decided on Oregon St. She had said she wanted to get closer to home at the time and since she is from Idaho, she seems this will make her more at ease so that her family will be able to watch her.

  12. Mike thats interesting at least shes a little closer for her family. Im still wondering about boley from ND . At first I thought she might transfer to Louisville but then I realized that Lou. is in the same conf as ND so that wont work. She doesnt want to lose a year of eligibility.

    1. Is there some ACC rule about transferring within the conference that supercedes the NCAA? I don’t understand your reference. The only way you can transfer and not sit out a year is to transfer to a lower NCAA division or to be a graduate transfer.

      Some conferences require a school’s permission to transfer within the conference but that has been known to be challenged in court.

  13. Bendu Yeaney is really blossoming and having a phenominal year , her coaches words. There was a six game stretch in her senior year where she avg. 31pts a game including a triple double 21pts, 22 reb, 12 steals, 3 ass. In another article I saw where she was voted player of the year in her 3 rivers league. A really nice article on her for anyone interested.

  14. Thanks for the article. How did she get to IU. She could be a good read/forecast by T.Moren and staff. She sounds like she has a good head on her shoulders also. From Bloomington to Oregon to bring her to Bloomington. That could be some great recruiting.

  15. Steve W, thank you so much for providing the article. It was very informative and encouraging. Keep up the good work.

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