Ideally, when a recruit takes an official visit to a school, they will have the opportunity to meet and spend some time with their potential teammates.

When Lesila Finau visited Colorado in May, she didn't have that luxury, but it didn't matter.

"As soon as I came here, I knew I loved it," she said.

Finau, from Dublin, Calif., is one of five newcomers for the CU women's basketball team this year. The 5-foot-10 freshman can play either guard spot and figures to contend for significant playing time.

"She's great in transition, she makes good decisions in transition," CU head coach JR Payne said. "She's going to give us great depth and she's excited about the opportunity to play with and sort of be mentored by a great senior point guard (Kennedy Leonard)."

Finau originally signed with Minnesota, but got a release from her scholarship after the Golden Gophers went through a coaching change this spring.

"I wasn't sure how I felt about (the coaching change), so I decided to open up my recruitment," Finau said.

Finau visited CU and Washington, but felt great about the Buffs from the start, even though sophomore guard Peyton Carter was the only player in town during her visit.

"It's such a family environment and that's what I like," she said. "Back home I'm all about family and here it's all about family and I noticed that and the team is super close.

"I can't wait to start practicing with all the girls and play in the Pac-12."


Being on campus this summer, Finau has had a chance to get to know her teammates and get a sense of how she fits into the mix.

As a senior at Dublin High School, Finau averaged 20.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 4.8 steals. A three-time all-conference performer, she hopes to bring the same type of versatility to CU that she displayed in high school.

"I think I can make a good impact when I'm on the court and hopefully I can be on the court for a long time," she said.

CU has experience at guard, with Leonard, fellow senior Alexis Robinson and junior Quinessa Caylao-Do. Finau, however, has the ability to play a variety of positions, which could help her to get on the court.

"With my high school team I was point guard because that's what they needed me for, but in AAU I was a wing, so I can play one through three," she said. "I don't have a preference."

Willing to play any role, Finau is just happy to be in Boulder and call it home.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or