Women's Basketball Signs Kapinus

The All-Big Ten guard comes to Vanderbilt after a three-year career at Penn State

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt women’s basketball head coach Shea Ralph announced the signing of transfer Leilani Kapinus on Monday, as the 5-10 guard joins the Commodores after a three-year career at Penn State.

Leilani Kapinus (Lay-Lon-EE, Cap-In-Is), who hails from Madison, Wisconsin, has been one of the premier defensive players in the Big Ten Conference during her time at Penn State. The versatile guard was a two-time All-Big Ten defensive team selection and earned a pair of All-Big Ten honorable mention nods during her time at PSU. Through three seasons in Happy Valley, Kapinus ranked 10th in career blocks (109) and 11th in career steals (228) at Penn State. The guard started in all but one of the 95 career games she played in for the Nittany Lions. Kapinus scored 1,029 points, grabbed 610 rebounds, and dished out 210 assists during her three-year PSU career.

“Leilani is a fierce competitor and as tough a basketball player as they come,” said Ralph. “She is one of the elite defenders at the Power Four level and has demonstrated a versatility throughout her career that blends well with our current roster. Not only is she competitive and ambitious, but she is also a joy to be around and will be an outstanding addition to our culture. Her maturity and experience on the court will immediately elevate our team, while her demeanor and desire to be great will allow her to transition seamlessly into our Vanderbilt family. I am so excited to welcome her to Nashville.”

Kapinus is coming off a tremendous 2023-24 season that saw her average a career-best 11.5 points per game, while she shot a blistering 58.0 percent from the field and 41 percent on 3-point field goals. The guard was named to the 2023-24 All-Big Ten defensive team and earned an All-Big Ten honorable mention selection. She helped Penn State go 22-13 and advance to the final four of the 2024 Women’s Basketball Invitational Tournament.

The guard ranked second in the Big Ten in total steals (72) and steals per game (2.06), while she had the fifth-most blocks (45) and blocks per game (1.28) in the conference. Kapinus scored double-digit points in 21 games last season, which included a career-high 25-point performance against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Dec. 17. She also pulled down double-figure caroms in five contests and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds against George Mason in the WBIT. The guard averaged 12.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.0 steals per game in the 2024 WBIT to help Penn State advance to the tournament’s semifinal round.

Kapinus becomes the fourth member of Vanderbilt’s 2024 signing class, joining graduate transfer Jane Nwaba and incoming freshmen Mikayla Blakes and Trinity Wilson.

Season tickets for the 2024-25 Vanderbilt women’s basketball campaign are now on sale. Fans can click the link here to purchase season tickets.

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