UConn Rebounds From Final Four Loss by Landing No. 1 Recruit the Next Day

Apr 4, 2024; Cleveland, OH, USA; UConn Huskies coach Geno Auriemma during a press conference at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Apr 4, 2024; Cleveland, OH, USA; UConn Huskies coach Geno Auriemma during a press conference at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

UConn’s impressive run to the 2024 Final Four came to a gut-wrenching end Friday night as Geno Auriemma’s Huskies fell to Caitlin Clark-led Iowa 71–69 in the national semifinal in Cleveland.

Though the result wasn’t what UConn would’ve wanted, it didn’t take long for the program to send a warning to the rest of the country about its prospects going forward.

Auriemma did that by landing a commitment from Sarah Strong, the No. 1 overall recruit in the class of 2024. Strong, a 6-foot-2 forward, chose the Huskies over offers from ACC powerhouses Duke and UNC.

"Just watching them play ... watching and realizing I can help them and be there. I'm just ready to be there and practice and play," Strong said of her decision to choose UConn over her other options, per ESPN. "I like the style and feel like I fill a need there. I'm drawn to the championship culture."

Strong joins an already highly-coveted 2024 class for the Huskies featuring two top-20 recruits, Allie Ziebell (No. 4) and Morgan Cheli (No. 18).

In her three seasons at Grace Christian School in Sanford, Nc., Strong has amassed a host of accolades, including a Naismith Player of the Year award and two gold medals as a member of the 3X3 U18 World Cup team. Now, she’ll set her sights on trying to end UConn’s eight-year title drought when she arrives on campus next season.


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Zach Koons

ZACH KOONS

Zach Koons is a programming editor at Sports Illustrated who also specializes in Formula One news and analysis. He started as a breaking news writer at SI before joining the programming team in 2023. Also a contributor to NBA and college sports coverage, Zach previously wrote for The Spun and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and currently hosts the Bleav in Northwestern podcast. Zach is a 2022 graduate of Northwestern University and lives in New York City.