The Colorado women’s basketball team has added some talent to its roster.
On Friday, Lesila “Sila” Finau of Dublin, Calif., signed a financial aid agreement and will join the Buffaloes’ program this summer.
A 5-foot-10 guard, Finau signed a letter of intent with Minnesota in November. When Gophers head coach Marlene Stollings left to take the job at Texas Tech in April, however, Finau’s plans changed.
“I think she still liked Minnesota, but it just changes the complexion of your vision of what it was going to be,” CU head coach JR Payne said. “But, she reopened her recruitment and she narrowed her recruitment very quickly.”
Finau was released from her NLI at Minnesota, took an official visit to CU in late May and then visited Washington last weekend before choosing to play with the Buffs.
“It was tough for us because all of our players were gone, so she did an official visit where (sophomore guard Peyton Carter) was the only kid that she went to dinner with,” Payne said. “She committed to us without getting to meet the team, but I think she just loved what we’re doing here and loved Boulder and felt good about her opportunities academically and athletically.”
As a senior at Dublin High School, Finau averaged 20.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 4.8 steals per game, helping the Gaels to a 25-6 record.
Finau also played with Cal Stars, one of the top club programs in the country.
“She certainly adds depth to that (point guard) position and she’s really pretty good,” Payne said. “She’s great in transition, she makes good decisions in transition. She’s a legit 5-10 and she’s very long. 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 is the fifth member of CU’s 2018 recruiting class and the third to be added in the past few weeks. Last month, the Buffs signed 6-foot-4 center Kai Volcy, from New Jersey, and 6-foot-1 forward Emma Clarke, from Perth, Australia, to letters of intent.
“We’re super excited,” Payne said. “These are really good players. They’re long, versatile, they run, they’re extremely competitive. They’re great students, great people. They’re really, really good additions.”
In November, the Buffs signed guard Cameron Swartz of Marietta, Ga., and forward Sirena “Peanut” Tuitele of Chico, Calif.
CU has eight returning players, including seven on scholarship (Carter, who was on scholarship last year, is slated to technically be a walk-on this year). The new additions give the Buffs 12 scholarship players for next year.
Payne said it’s possible the Buffs will add another player this summer.
Guard Sara Castro, who played 140 minutes over 17 games last year as a freshman, has decided not to return to the Buffs and instead look for an opportunity elsewhere.