University of Maine women's basketball coach Amy Vachon leads her team during a recent game against Providence. Credit: Seth Poplaski / UMaine Athletics

The University of Maine’s women’s basketball team was already going to have an impressive arsenal of guards next season.

Now it’s added another one to it.

Idan Shlush has transferred to the University of Maine from Big East school St. John’s University in Queens, New York. Shlush, who is from Gedera, Israel, appeared in four games for the Red Storm as a freshman this past season.

She played a total of 11 minutes and 34 seconds and had two points, two rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot.

Shlush will have three years of eligibility, although UMaine could petition the NCAA to gain a fourth year for her since she appeared in just four games this season, and will be a scholarship player.

St. John’s went 12-19 overall, 7-12 in the Big East and finished seventh in the 11-team league.

The 5-foot-7 Shlush is a shooting guard. UMaine head coach Amy Vachon said she can score at all three levels: off the drive and in the paint, with a mid-range jump shot, and beyond the 3-point arc.

“She is also very good on the defensive end. She is a versatile guard who can do a lot of different things and that’s what we like,” Vachon said. “We’re excited to have her.”

Before attending St. John’s, Shlush played for the Wingate Basketball Academy, one of the top basketball academies in Israel.

She was a member of the Under 14, U16 and U20 Israeli National Teams and was chosen to the All-International Basketball Federation Camp first team after playing an important role for her Israeli team at the U16 European Championships.

“She’s proven she can play at a really high level. She has played with professional players in Israel,” said Vachon, who also called Shlush a tough, hard-working player that fits the mold of those in her program.

Vachon had recruited Shlush diligently before she chose St. John’s.

“She realized she wanted to be in Maine, we had an open spot, and we welcomed her back,” said Vachon.

Shlush will be the second Israeli to join the program in recent years, following three-time All-America East point guard Dor Saar, a four-year starter who is the only player in program history to register more than 1,000 points (1,069) and 500 (507) assists in her career. Saar transferred to Middle Tennessee State and helped lead the team to the WNIT semifinals for the first time in program history this past season.  

Three of UMaine’s four returning guards who averaged more than 17 minutes of playing time per game received post-season awards. Junior Anne Simon was the America East Player of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year, sophomore point guard Alba Orois was chosen to the All-America East third team, and freshman Paula Gallego was an All-Rookie Team pick.

Sophomore guard Olivia Rockwood averaged 18.5 minutes per game but saw 25 minutes per game in UMaine’s last three post-season games.

In addition, junior Anna Kahelin, who missed the whole season due to knee surgery, is expected to be back and two freshman guards who saw more than 10 minutes per game, Bailey Wilborn and Sera Hodgson, will also be back.

One of the incoming freshmen, Windham’s Sarah Talon, is also a guard.

UMaine loses just one player off this year’s America East regular season championship team, three-time All-America East second team forward Maeve Carroll.

UMaine went 20-12 this past season, 15-3 in the conference, and played in the WNIT after losing to Albany 56-47 in the America East Tournament championship game. UMaine lost to Boston College 69-44 in the first round of the WNIT.

Vachon, who went out recruiting on Thursday, said she still has one scholarship available.

“If we find someone who can help us, we will grab her. If not, we will leave it open for next year.”