Lehigh women’s basketball is losing two key players to the transfer portal after a 12-6 conference record and a playoff win this season.
Lehigh’s two leading scorers, senior Frannie Hottinger and junior Mackenzie Kramer, will be heading to Marquette and Clemson, respectively, next season.
Both Hottinger and Kramer earned First-Team All-Patriot League honors this season, forming a top tandem in the league. With both of them set to graduate this spring, Hottinger and Kramer set their sights on the graduate transfer portal, which they can use to play out their last year of NCAA eligibility at another school.
“(Graduating early) kind of opened the door a little bit more, where it wasn’t like I was going to lose out on the high-quality Lehigh degree by making that decision,” Kramer said.
Hottinger said the Big East Conference drew her interest. She considered many schools from the conference, which took five teams to the women’s NCAA tournament this season, but eventually committed to Marquette—a team that participated in March Madness and went 21-11 overall this season.
Kramer was also set on playing in one of the top conferences in the nation. She chose Clemson, a school from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), which sent eight teams to the NCAA tournament this year, placing it among the top conferences in women’s college basketball.
Both Kramer and Hottinger saw going from the Patriot League to some of the most competitive conferences as an opportunity to experience a higher level of the sport they love.
“It’s a whole new level of intensity when it comes to player development, practices and games,” Hottinger said.
However, with a higher level of competition and intensity comes an expected decrease in individual roles. Hottinger won Patriot League Player of the Year this season and set the program’s single-season point record. Kramer achieved a Patriot League honor all three years of her career at Lehigh.
“When I talked with our coaches, they definitely see a role for me,” Kramer said. “I’m really excited about (a) change of pace. Hopefully (I’ll) be a leader right away, coming in with experience.”
The two said they feel ready to compete at this elevated level of competition. Lehigh has played power six conference teams, such as Minnesota, Seton Hall, Missouri and Villanova, over the past two seasons.
Although the Mountain Hawks were 0-4 in these matchups, they lost by 10 points or less in three of the four games, giving the team valuable experience and, perhaps, their stars a taste of what is to come in the future.
“We’ve played against Big East teams before at Lehigh,” Hottinger said. “So I feel comfortable in a sense of knowing that I can still be a three-level scorer in the Big East.”
Despite moving on to bigger, more widely-known conferences, Kramer and Hottinger said they will not forget Lehigh.
The two expressed gratitude for their time as Mountain Hawks and Lehigh’s role in shaping the players they are today.
“I’ll really appreciate and remember that I was able to cultivate as a person deeper than basketball,” Hottinger said. “I was able to grow my confidence behind who I am as a person, and that’s going to take me super far. I wouldn’t trade my undergrad experience at all.”
This impact went both ways, as Hottinger and Kramer’s teammates recognize the impact the two had on and off the court.
The pair led the Mountain Hawks to three straight winning seasons and a Patriot League title in 2021, with both of them scoring more than 1,000 career points and earning several honors. Off the court, they were leaders and competitors, providing a strong presence for underclassmen.
“They definitely left their mark on what they did in our program and the leadership they brought,” sophomore guard Kaylee Van Eps said. “Both of them are big competitors, too, so that’s nice to have in practices and games.”