It was better late than never for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team. Actually, the fall recruiting signing period could not have gone any better for the Huskies.
Olivia Nelson-Ododa, a 6-foot-4 center from Winder, Georgia, has signed a letter of intent to attend UConn on Wednesday, the final day of the fall signing period. Rated the No. 5 recruit in the Class of 2018 by ESPNHoopgurlz, she also considered Duke, Florida State, Georgia, and South Carolina.
Last week, UConn signed the nation's top recruit, Christyn Williams, a 5-foot-11 guard from Little Rock, Arkansas.
Nelson-Ododa will be entering her fourth season as a starter at Winder-Barrow High and has been an All-State first-team selection the last two years. She suffered a knee injury last Jan. 31 that ended her junior season and cost her a chance to try out for the United States U-19 national team.
She was a teammate of Williams with the 2016 U-17 national team that won a bronze medal at the FIBA world championships in Zaragoza, Spain, averaging a team-high 12.0 points on 56 percent shooting from the floor and ranking second in rebounds (9.4) and blocked shots (1.7). She had a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds in Team USA's semifinal loss to eventual champion Australia and nine points and 10 rebounds in the bronze-medal game victory over China.
In her USA Basketball bio last year, she listed former UConn star and fellow Georgia native Maya Moore as her favorite player. She is a member of her school's National Honor Society and hopes to become a doctor.
UConn is still hopeful of putting together an official visit for 18-year-old Australian Eziyoda Magbegor during the season. A 6-foot-4 forward, she is in her first season playing for the Canberra Capitals of Australia's Women's National Basketball League.
Magbegor was the top scorer (16.1 points on 53 percent shooting from the floor) and second-leading rebounder (8.1) while averaging team-highs of 2.0 steals and 1.6 blocked shots as Australia finished sixth in the FIBA U-19 World Cup. She had nine points and 10 rebounds in 18 minutes before fouling out in a quarterfinal loss to eventual gold medalist Russia.
If the Huskies do not sign anyone in the spring, they will have at least five scholarships available for the Class of 2019. The top junior is Samantha Brunelle, a 6-foot-2 forward from Ruckersville, Virginia. She averaged averaged 25.0 points, 12.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 3.4 blocked shots as a sophomore in leading William Monroe High to a 16-8 record while earning Class 3A All-State honors. In June, she won a gold medal with the United States U-16 team at the 2017 FIBA Americas Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
UConn will honor 2017 Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame inductee Rebecca Lobo in a pregame ceremony prior to the Huskies' home opener against No. 20 California on Friday at Gampel Pavilion. Lobo is the first UConn player to be inducted into the Naismith Hall and a banner commemorating that moment will be unveiled and be on display next to coach Geno Auriemma's banner for his 2006 induction. Lobo was a two-time All-American and the 1995 national Player of the Year when she led the Huskies to their first national championship. She also won a gold medal with the 1996 Olympic team ... UConn seniors Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams, and juniors Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, and Azura Stevens are among 30 players named to the Wooden Award preseason watch list. No other school had more than two players on the list.