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    Friday, June 21, 2024

    No. 1 high school recruit Sarah Strong commits to UConn women

    East forward Sarah Strong (21) shoots over West forward Kennedy Smith, left, during the first quarter of the McDonald's All-American girls' basketball game Tuesday, April 2, 2024, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)
    West guard Morgan Cheli, left, is blocked by East forward Sarah Strong during the first quarter of the McDonald's All American girls' basketball game on Tuesday Houston. Strong and Cheli have both committed to play at UConn. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)
    East forwards Sarah Strong, left, and Joyce Edwards are presented with the co-MVP award after the McDonald's All American girls' basketball game Tuesday, April 2, 2024, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)

    Sarah Strong, the top high school girls’ basketball recruit in the Class of 2024, remained uncommitted until Saturday when she appeared on ESPN at halftime of the Chipotle Nationals championship in Brownsburg, Indiana.

    Strong, a 6-foot-2 forward who recently completed her career at Grace Christian in Sanford, North Carolina, with 2,302 points and 1,628 rebounds, opened her jacket to reveal a shirt bearing the UConn logo on her chest.

    The news came the morning after a late-night loss by the UConn women’s team at the Final Four in Cleveland. UConn, which has an unprecedented 11 national championships under head coach Geno Auriemma, fell to Iowa 71-69 in the national semifinals.

    Strong recently narrowed her choices to UConn, Duke and North Carolina.

    “First, I want to just thank all the coaches that recruited me,” Strong said in her announcement. “I’d like to thank my dad, thank you, and my teammates, y’all really mean a lot to me. So the next four years, I’ll be going to (opens her jacket) Connecticut.”

    Strong’s teammates, by her side, surrounded her, screaming in excitement.

    Grace Christian (30-1) fell to IMG Academy 74-68 in the quarterfinal round of the Chipotle Nationals on Thursday.

    On Strong’s Instagram account, there was an elaborate video posted featuring a young girl wearing a UConn jersey, labeled as “young Sarah Strong, future Husky” speaking to her older self.

    “UConn is where we want to play,” the younger girl says in the video. “Coach Geno is who we want to play for and I believe it’s the perfect program for us. It’s a school we’ve always dreamed of attending because of the rich history and how great players become greater.

    “So go be great and leave nothing on the table. The world is yours, Rah.”

    The video features career highlights of Strong, as well as footage from UConn’s practice facility featuring tributes to UConn greats Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore.

    Next year’s UConn roster, which has all 15 of its scholarships accounted for including Strong’s, will feature three former No. 1 high school recruits, with Paige Bueckers, Azzi Fudd and Strong.

    Strong joins No. 4 Allie Ziebell and No. 18 Morgan Cheli in this year’s UConn recruiting class. Strong was co-MVP of the McDonald’s All-American game and the Naismith Player of the Year.


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