Let me start by saying that I am not claiming this applies to Ali Patberg, Erin Boley, or any other teams' transfers. I don't know, I wouldn't know, and I don't care. This is a general plea for people to stop trying to explain every transfer out of respect for the privacy of the people involved.
Almost all gay men who compete in college athletics keep their preferences to themselves. Women's athletics has a somewhat different dynamic, but it isn't completely open.
Quite a few WNBA players have come out, but they kept publicly silent while they were in college. Even at that, women don't pretend around their teammates whereas the macho world of men's sports won't tolerate a gay teammate easily.
The athletes know which programs are more and less accepting of gays, but there aren't such things as gay programs and straight programs. So what determines comfort level or fit?
It starts with the coach. Kim Mulkey advised Brittney Griner to keep quiet even though everyone in the program knew she is gay. That could be stressful; but imagine how much more stressful it would be if a player felt she has to keel her preference from her teammates. Teammates might be very accepting when a player commits to a program only to have the level of acceptance change as older players leave a program and younger players join it; and even if everyone claims to be open minded, I can imagine cliques developing around the issue.
If you ask Mr Google, you will find quite a few articles on the difficulties gay women have landing coaching jobs in college. There are a few in high profile jobs, but there are far more who never have come out because they worry about fans' reactions, schools' reactions, and parents' reaction when it comes to recruiting.
Very little has been written about gay women competing at the college level; but the number of WNBA players who have come out should tell you that there is a noteworthy population in college. That leads me to my point.
There are many reasons a player will transfer. It could be the coach's approach to motivation. It could be a logjam at her position. Homesickness. Coaching change. Likes the program but not the school. It's also possible that there is a very personal reason a basketball player feels like she doesn't fit; so while we think the decision doesn't make a lot of sense, it makes all the sense in the world for a young woman who wants to be in a program where she is comfortable being herself.
This is why I think it's a good idea to stop trying to analyze each transfer for why and to determine if it's a good move. There are personal things we don't know and that are none of our business. I'm willing to accept that a young woman's decision to transfer and her choice of a new program isn't capricious, and it isn't always about the basketball part of the equation.