Stratton’s Stand: Reviewing the 5 Big East recruits in ESPN’s HOOPGURLZ Top 100

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The lack of continuity within teams is clearly the best part about college basketball. Putting aside extended eligibility for players who played during last year’s COVID-19 year, one fourth of the players depart every year and a new set of players enter the landscape. Annually, ESPN ranks its top 100 prospects in women’s basketball. Today, we’ll be looking at the five players on the list who are committed to play in the Big East.  

Ayanna Patterson (Ranked No. 4; committed to UConn) — In general, top five prospects tend to have a large impact for Husky teams. This year, Azzi Fudd (No. 1) and Caroline Ducharme (No. 5) have made their marks and last year, Paige Bueckers had a special, POTY campaign. Although it will be tough to live up to those standards, Patterson could be special. The McDonald’s All American is 6’2’’ and grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She is a wing with great athleticism, even throwing down a dunk in practice last year. Throughout high school, Patterson has defaulted to her dominant inside game, but her ball handling and passing have developed more recently. Her rebounding ability and hustle will allow her to impact the game without hitting shots, but as she gets in the gym more and improves her jumper, she could grow into one of the most dominant players in the country. For now though, she’s much more of a threat inside the arc, but the energy will always be there.  

Isuneh Brady (Ranked No. 5; committed to UConn) — With the impending departure of big Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Isuneh “Ice” Brady will be a threat to compete for significant minutes at the forward slot. The 6’3’’ McDonald’s All American is dangerous inside with the ability to block shots, something that the Huskies have already done well this year. Offensively, Brady can be a real weapon when things are going right for her. Her inside game is strong, with the ability to catch it in the low post or to start at the three point line and work her way in. Her midrange game is strong as well and she even has a reasonably efficient three-point shot. With her size, she’ll be able to challenge almost any big defensively and she’ll force the opponent to guard her outside, spacing the floor considerably, which will be a welcome sight for UConn fans.  

Kennedy Fauntleroy (Ranked No. 75; committed to Georgetown) — The Maryland point guard is staying home in hopes of reinvigorating one of the bottom teams in the Big East at Georgetown, who just lost to UConn earlier this week by 41. Fauntleroy brings all you could want in a point guard: the ability to create her own looks offensively. Along with her creative abilities, she can also really shoot it and pass it nicely, especially with a bit of flair, with range well beyond the high school line. It’s hard to imagine the guard being anything but the focal point of the team next year, as the Hoyas look to build around the promising player.  

Emily La Chapell (Ranked No. 77; committed to Marquette) — Even on a Marquette squad that is just a few games behind UConn for first place in the Big East, La Chapell is skilled enough to put herself in a position to make an impact right away for the Golden Eagles. With senior Karissa McLaughlin leaving after this year, La Chapell could get a ton of minutes early. La Chapell is a really capable scorer, with a sweet three-point stroke to go along with a nice midrange game. In high school, she succeeded inside against players her size or smaller, but it will be interesting to see how she competes against taller players that are much less rare in college. As a combo guard, her passing skills are serviceable, not hindering the team, but she also won’t be putting up any crazy assist numbers. The biggest issue with her game is her tendency to jump without a purpose, putting herself in a position where she needs to make a split second decision on who to pass to. This works when she is one of the taller and more skilled players out there, but will lead to turnovers in college.  

Madisen Wardell (Ranked No. 95; committed to DePaul) — The rich get richer as DePaul’s already loaded Aneesah Morrow-led frontcourt adds Wardell. Although the 6’2’’ forward doesn’t have the same size that many of the elite bigs do, she brings a level of versatility that most her size don’t have. She has the ability to post up traditionally against smaller players, but can also utilize her craftiness to finish around bigger opponents. Her midrange game is good enough and she can make the deep ball often enough that opponents will need to guard her out there, effectively spacing the floor. She can also block shots at a nice clip, but will have trouble defending bigger players just because of the severe mismatch. Wardell makes the Blue Demons a clear-cut contender for No. 2 in the Big East next year.  

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