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The Rise Of Sarah Strong.

From the basketball-rich city of North Carolina emerges a prodigious talent, Sara Strong. Ranked as the No.1 player in ESPN’s HoopGurlz Recruiting class Of 2024, her journey from dominating the courts of Grace Christian Sanford to the world stage is a testament to her potential as a future WNBA superstar.


Strong averaged 25 points and 19 rebounds in her first year of high school, which caught much attention. She participated in the FIBA 3x3 U18 tournament in Hungary, winning two gold medals in 2022 and 2023. The competition overseas was a valuable experience for her as she faced world-class athletes her age. When she returned to America, her game rose to another level. 


Her leadership skills improved yearly, and her championship DNA developed as she led the GCS Crusaders to three consecutive state championship titles. The state awarded her the prestigious titles of North Carolina Miss Basketball and Gatorade North Carolina Player Of The Year in 2023 & 2024. In her senior year, she was chosen as a McDonald's All-American and won the game's MVP, showcasing her ability to rise to the occasion and deliver outstanding performances while playing with the absolute best. 


Strong's talent had garnered so much attention that legendary Head Coach Geno Auriemma and the UConn Huskies recruited her. The University, known for its rich basketball history and high standards, saw in her a potential to continue their legacy. The Huskies have a storied basketball history, boasting some of the biggest superstars in the WNBA. For instance, Breanna Stewart, a former Husky, led them to four NCAA titles, and she had 12 future WNBA players alongside her. This legacy and the opportunity to be a part of it were critical factors in Strong's decision to join the Huskies. 


Strong's addition to the Huskies roster is not just a mere addition; it's a game-changer. In an interview with journalist Brenden Potts at the 2024 NIKE Hoop Summit, she expressed her excitement about joining the Husky family and gave her reasons for choosing UConn. 


“I mean, I’ve liked the school since I was a little kid, and I watched all their players that would go the WNBA, and that's like who I grew up watching,”  Strong said. “ That’s who I want to be like. I wanted to commit to the school and go to the WNBA like Breanna Stewart and Maya Moore.” 

 

Potts also asked what her game will add to the roster next season. The Huskies have been ranked #1 in the Big East conference for the last six seasons, and their roster has only improved with the likes of Strong. 


“I can bring more competent shooting, like I can shoot beyond threes or mid-range, Like I can pass also,” Strong said.” I'm not saying those ladies can’t, but I can just add whatever they like, add another level, another layer of what they need.” 


Her confidence is prevalent, and she has yet to face any collegiate-level competition. Her game will transition nicely with her jump shooting, physicality, and IQ. The Huskies have one of the best developmental staff in all of basketball, and she will be groomed for excellence under coach Auriemma. She will pair beautifully with superstar guard Paige Bueckers, who will be an invaluable mentor for Strong as her collegiate career comes to a close next season and Strong’s journey is just beginning.


Her game will expand exponentially over the next four years, and she will likely be a top-3 pick in her draft class. Due to the WNBA’s age mandate for American players, the world will witness Strong’s development from a teenager into a grown woman. Her mother, Allison Feaster, is the Vice President Of Team Operations & Organizational Growth for the Boston Celtics, giving her access to the best trainers and connections from one of the best teams in the NBA (64-18).


Strong’s freshman year will have a lot of attention and NCAA tournament will put her under a microscope. The talent of her supporting cast guarantees a yearly appearance. The UConn scouts recruited five-star prospects Allie Ziebell and Morgan Cheli, who will play alongside Strong for the next few seasons. The trio can maintain the Huskies' tradition of dominance, and it will be interesting to see them grow together. Bueckers's has two more years of eligibility but the end of her era is near. She will pass the torch to another generational talent who will lead the pack to greatness. 


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