Beth Hunt, the Atlantic Coast Conference women's basketball rookie of the year last season, said she is transferring from the University of Maryland to the University of South Carolina.

Hunt said she informed Maryland Coach Chris Weller of her decision during the second week in April, but was not granted her release by the school's athletic department until about 10 days ago.

The 6-foot-1 forward from Myrtle Beach, S.C., led the Terrapins in scoring (16.1 points per game), rebounding (9.1 per game) and field goal percentage despite a knee injury that forced her to miss seven games.

"It was something I had made my mind up about after the season, about midway through the semester," Hunt said from her home late Tuesday night. "And when I got back home after school ended {May 26}, I knew right away that I had made the right decision."

In April, Carolyn Hunt said the main reason her daughter was planning to transfer was a desire to be closer to home. Tuesday night, Beth Hunt indicated the deterioration of Maryland's athletic atmosphere in the wake of Len Bias' death also had played a role in her decision.

"I'll tell you," she said, "most of the athletic people around there don't have that much pride anymore. There's pride among the coaches because that's where they are, but the pride among the athletes just isn't there."

Carolyn Hunt said Beth, who was taking summer school classes at Maryland when Bias died, was affected by the incident. "Beth called me that morning and just said, 'Mama, Len Bias is dead,' " Carolyn Hunt said. "She was a little bit shook up. And the atmosphere and the attitudes seemed to change up there after that. Nobody can help it. That's just the way it is."

Beth Hunt said she considered leaving Maryland before school started last fall, but she decided, "I'm gonna stay and see what happens."

In Maryland's first game of the season, against Towson State, Hunt had 24 points and 17 rebounds. She continued to live up to the all-America honors she earned in her junior and senior years at Socastee High School in Myrtle Beach.

Hunt, who chose Maryland over South Carolina, Louisiana Tech and Virginia, said she felt no animosity toward Weller and that she "had fun last year."

She said her only disappointment was Weller's reaction to her decision to transfer. "We then had three two-hour meetings in the next two days in which she tried to get me to stay," Hunt said.

Weller was unavailable for comment.