Louisville women's basketball signs three prospects


Louisville women’s basketball announced the signings of three players for the 2020 recruiting class Nov. 13. Olivia Cochran, a 6-foot-3 forward, Merissah Russell, a 5-foot-11 guard and Ahlana Smith, a 5-foot-9 guard, signed National Letters of Intent Wednesday.

“We are extremely excited to announce that Olivia, Merissah and Ahlana will be part of our 2020 signing class,” Walz said. “We traveled wherever necessary to find players that are a fit for our program.”

Cochran is the 18-ranked player in the Class of 2020 according to espnW HoopGurlz. The five-star forward is from Columbus, Georgia.

“Olivia Cochran shores up a strong front line with her physicality and passion for the game. She brings the term power back into the forward positions,” Walz said. “She is an elite rebounder and scorer with face-up skills. She has a nose for the ball and brings an element of toughness and strength wit hehr blue collar work ethic.”

Cochran was named MVP of the 2019 USA Basketball Women’s 3-on-3 U18 National Championship after leading her team to a gold medal. She was a member of USA women’s 3-on-3 U18 World Cup team that won a gold medal at the FIBA 3-on-3 World Cup in Mongolia.

Russell is a four-star prospect from Ottawa, Ontario. She played for Canada’s U19 team at the 2019 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Thailand. Russell is ranked the 29 best guard by espnW.

“She is a long athletic wing who uses her frame to disrupt the opposition’s best scorers,” Walz said. “She can create and score in a multitude of ways and is a student of the game.”

Smith is played for Gulf Coast State junior college this season. She is averaging 29.2 points on 51 percent shooting from the field.

Smith played her freshman season at UCLA, averaging 12.6 minutes and 3.0 points.

“Ahlana Smith is a player with a Division I experience so she will be ready to contribute immediately,” Walz said. “She will bring toughness and grit to our backcourt with her ability to create her own shot and distribute consistently.”

Walz did not rule out that the Cardinals would add more players to their 2020 recruiting class.