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Senior guard Kayla Padilla of Penn's women's basketball is committing to the University of Southern California for her final year of collegiate eligibility. Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

Although Penn women’s basketball senior Kayla Padilla will always be remembered for her time in the Red and Blue, her final season of college basketball will be spent in the Cardinal and Gold.

On Monday, Padilla announced via social media that she is committing to the University of Southern California for her final year of collegiate eligibility. The move marks a homecoming for the Torrance, Calif. native.

In a personal essay on The Sideline Post announcing her transfer decision, Padilla thanked Penn for helping her develop into the player she is today.

“On the Palestra floor, in the classrooms along Locust Walk (and on Zoom), and in the city of Philadelphia is where I blossomed into the student, basketball player, and person I hoped I would become as I dreamt of this opportunity as a young girl,” she wrote.

During her time with the Quakers, Padilla assembled a resume comparable to any player in the history of the program. She was named first-team All-Ivy three times and holds the all-time program records for most three-pointers in a game, season, and career.

Padilla’s extra year is a product of the Ivy League’s decision to cancel all winter sports during the 2020-21 season, or her sophomore year. Though Padilla retained the year of eligibility, Ivy League rules prevent graduate students from competing in athletics — meaning that in order to utilize it, Padilla had to transfer out of the conference.

In her time at Penn, Padilla found a place she belonged, and made an indelible mark on the program in the process. But as she looks ahead to her time with the Trojans, it is impossible to replace the allure of her roots.

“I could not imagine a more fulfilling way to close out my college career than to play at the legendary Galen Center alongside a talented team full of hoopers, repping a name with such rich history and tradition, and most especially, to look out into the crowd and see the village that has lifted me up since day one.” Padilla said. “Fight on Penn. Fight on ‘SC. And to the city that started it all — I’m coming home.”