Geno Auriemma and his coaching staff are always on the UConn womenâ€™s basketball team to rebound.
But when Top 5 post player Charli Collier switched her commitment from the Huskies to the University of Texas last month to leave UConn without a Class of 2018 recruit at the start of the fall signing period, it was their turn to bounce back.
How did they do? They look like winners.
With the signing of Olivia Nelson-Ododa, a 6-foot-4 center/forward from Winder, Georgia, on the final day of the fall signing period Wednesday, the Huskies landed their second Top 5 recruit of the senior class. Last Friday, UConn signed the nationâ€™s top recruit, Christyn Williams, a 5-11 guard from Little Rock, Arkansas.
Nelson-Ododa made her announcement and signed her letter of intent at an assembly at Winder-Barrow High. Rated the No. 5 recruit in the class by ESPNHoopgurlz, she also considered Duke, Florida State, Georgia, and South Carolina.
Auriemma will likely comment later today following No. 1 UConnâ€™s practice at Gampel Pavilion. The Huskies host No. 20 California Friday night.
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 USAâ€™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 schoolâ€™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 6-4 forward, she is in her rookie season with the Canberra Capitals of Australiaâ€™s Womenâ€™s National Basketball League.
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 6-2 forward from Ruckersville, Virginia, who was also a member of the 2016 U-17 club. 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 Friday night. Lobo is the first UConn player to be inducted into the Naismith Hall and a banner commemorating that will be unveiled and be on display next to Auriemmaâ€™s banner for his 2006 induction â€¦ 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.