After losing all but one member of its once-famed 2017 recruiting class, UConn women’s basketball now has the top two players from the class on its roster. Former No. 2 prospect Evina Westbrook announced her commitment from the Huskies, coming in as a transfer from former arch-rival Tennessee.
Listed at 6-foot, Westbrook started all 64 games in her career with the Lady Vols but made her decision to transfer after Tennessee fired head coach Holly Warlick. This past season, Westbrook finished with 14.9 points and 5.3 assists per game — both team highs.
The Salem, Oregon native will need to sit for a year before having two seasons of eligibility left remaining barring a waiver from the NCAA. While recent UConn transfers Batouly Camara and Azura Stevens both had to sit, the fact that the NCAA is becoming more lenient in giving out waivers recently and the fact that Westbrook is coming from a school where the coach was fired should help her case.
According to A Dime Back’s Russ Steinberg, UConn is “confident” that Westbrook will get the waiver.
If Westbrook does get the waiver, she will be the leading candidate to slide into the starting lineup along with Crystal Dangerfield, Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Megan Walker and Christyn Williams. Along with the recent commitments of Polish guard Ania Makurat and Murray State grad transfer Evelyn Adebayo, the immediate addition of Westbrook would put UConn back into the conversation as the best team in the nation.
Even if Westbrook is forced to sit, she will be a strong veteran addition to the Huskies’ 2020 recruiting class that features No. 1 recruit Paige Bueckers. In this scenario, Westbrook would be eligible to enter the WNBA Draft after the 2020-21 season.
Westbrook will get to see her old team twice with the Huskies. Tennessee will come to Connecticut this upcoming season before UConn makes the return trip to Knoxville in 2020-21.