Two key members of the University of Maryland's women' basketball team have left school to return to their respective hometowns.
Estelle Christy, the back-up point guard on last year's squad, reportedly has left because of academic difficulties.
Maryland, expected to contend for the NCAA championship this year, is also without last season's starting point guard, Limor Mizrachi. She returned to her native Israel after last semester.
Neither Christy nor Marylan coach Chris Weller could be reached for comment.
However, Weller told the Diamondback, the Maryland student newspaper, that Christy was academically ineligible for the coming season. A native of Bridgeport, Conn., Christy averaged 7.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists in her three seasons at Maryland.
Robert Doss, who coached Christy on his Amateur Athletic Union team in Bridgeport, said he had seen her three weeks ago on the campus of the University of Bridgeport, a Division II school.
However, Bob Baird, Bridgeport's assistant athletic director and sports information director, said Christy had not enrolled at the school.
Maryland athletic director Andy Geiger said yesterday that he had not seen Christy this semester and did not know the status of her academic standing at Maryland.
The starting point guard role likely will go to Katrina Colleton, a 5-foot-11 senior from Tampa, Fla. She was a member of the United States junior national team that won the gold medal in Jones Cup competition in Taiwan this summer.
The reserve point guard slot probably will be filled by Lena Patterson, a 5-6 freshman from Elizabeth Seton High in Bladensburg. She was selected by several recruiting sources as the top Maryland girls high school player last season, averaging 13 points and six assists.
Maryland went 25-6 and reached the NCAA Midwest Regional finals last season. The Terps were ranked No. 1 for four weeks and were expected to be near the top of the rankings again this season.