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LSU commit Aalyah Del Rosario has generational basketball talent

Aalyah Del Rosario has averaged double figures in each of her three high school seasons thus far. (Stephanie Amador/The Tennessean via USA TODAY NETWORK)

Editor’s note: This is the second in a five-part series previewing the top five girls basketball players in the Class of 2023. The series counts down to No. 1 and aligns with the start of the 2022-23 high school season. Click here to see the latest rankings from the Class of 2023. Counting down: No. 5 Hannah Hidalgo | No. 4 Aalyah Del Rosario | No. 3 Jadyn Donovan | No. 2 Juju Watkins | No. 1 Mikaylah Williams.

There’s a common misconception in basketball that bigs are one-dimensional. That they’re effective in the post but limited to it. That they’re slower than most and don’t have the handles to take defenders one-on-one.

Perhaps that’s why everyone loves a big guard — it’s exciting to see a player defy the norm.

Aalyah Del Rosario, whose game has notes of Candace Parker’s, is high school basketball’s best reminder of what a post player can be with her strong court vision, elite rebounding abilities and calm confidence when double- or even triple-teamed.

After spending two years at Trenton Catholic (N.J.), it didn’t take long for Del Rosario to transition to a successful career at The Webb School (Tenn.).

She’s averaged double figures in each of her three high school seasons thus far. As a junior last year, she helped lead Webb to a state championship while collecting regional MVP honors, earning a selection to the all-tournament team and being named a 2022 TSSAA Division II-A Miss Basketball finalist.

Coach’s analysis

This season, Del Rosario and her Webb teammates have the opportunity to earn back-to-back-to-back state titles under head coach Matt Shewmake.

“Aalyah is a generational-type player,” Shewmake said. “She’s 6-foot-6, she moves well, she’s all the tangible measurables that any college coach or professional coach is going to get excited about. Nobody has one of her.

“She requires a lot of defensive attention and has earned that.”

Webb’s roster boasts multiple Power 5 commits. There’s no shortage of talent, which has fostered a mutual understanding that, in some games, others might shine brighter. Del Rosario is more than capable of dropping a 20- or 30-piece, but her enthusiasm for sharing the success is indicative of both her character and her ability to thrive at the next level.

“Aalyah’s got a great team around her,” Shewmake said. “She can really find some comfort and confidence in that. She’s completely bought into that, into understanding that she’s got great players around her that pick up the load, and she hopes that they double her because that means one of her very talented teammates is wide open.”

The coaching staff recognizes Del Rosario as a source of stability for Webb.

“She’s a great person. She’s a great teammate,” Shewmake said. “Her teammates love her, no distractions there. She is what she is. She’s solid every day — the same person, the same smile, always giving out hugs.

“She’s an easy teammate to have and an easy person to coach.”

Catching up

Del Rosario is the newest member of LSU’s 2023 recruiting class. She chose the Tigers on Oct. 25 over North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. In Baton Rouge, she’ll develop under head coach Kim Mulkey, who has recruited and produced 11 first-round WNBA Draft picks.

Webb will also send starting point guard Angelica Velez to LSU next year.

“That’s a win-win there,” Shewmake said. “Kim’s getting a very talented player, and Aalyah’s getting to be coached by one of the most talented and most successful coaches in the history of our game who’s developed pros, who’s developed post players, whether it was Lauren Cox, or Kalani Brown or [Brittney] Griner. There’s a long list of post players that have gone to Kim Mulkey and gotten better and went on to have fruitful professional careers.

“If Aalyah will put in the work and be coached and submit to being coached by Kim, which I have no reason to think that she wouldn’t, she’ll be another one on that list.”

LSU is assembling one of the nation’s top recruiting classes in the 2023 cycle. Del Rosario is the second top-10 recruit in the Tigers’ class, following the commitment of No. 1 overall recruit Mikaylah Williams. Also committed are Velez and wing Janae Kent, the top prospect in Illinois.

Over the summer, Del Rosario, who has dual-citizenship in the U.S. and the Dominican Republic, won gold with the United States U18 national team. Across six games in the tournament, she averaged 7.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks.

At the end of October, she signed with SIG Sports and agent Boris Lelchitski, who represents more than 30 WNBA players and Olympians.

Caroline Makauskas is a contributing writer for Just Women’s Sports. She also covers a variety of sports on her TikTok @cmakauskas. Follow her on Twitter @cmakauskas.

Clark, Martin Square Off in First Pro WNBA Matchup

Kate Martin #20 of the Las Vegas Aces and Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever look on during the game
Things looked a little different Saturday night as the former Iowa teammates went head-to-head in Las Vegas. (Jeff Bottari/NBAE via Getty Images)

Former Iowa teammates Caitlin Clark and Kate Martin shared the court once again on Saturday, this time as professionals.

It was Martin’s Aces that got the 99-80 win over Clark’s Fever in Las Vegas. The pair's former coaches Lisa Bluder, Jan Jensen, Jenni Fitzgerald, and Raina Harmon were all in attendance to watch their Hawkeyes — Clark, Martin, and former national player of the year Megan Gustafson — take the court.

"It’s super special. It’s cool for our program, cool for Lisa, for Coach Jan, for all of them," Clark said in a pregame press conference. "They’ve known me since I’ve been 13 years old and now I’m 22 getting to live out my dream and they’ve been a huge part of that and helping me get here and helping Megan and Kate to get here too. It’s a great moment for them and I’m sure they’re not complaining about a trip to Vegas."

As for her college teammate, Clark had nothing but good things to say ahead of the showdown. 

"I’m just really happy for her and everything Coach [Becky] Hammon says about her is so true," she said. "Every person that played at Iowa and was around her knows that to be true. She’s the ultimate teammate, ultimate person, ultimate leader."

In the end, Martin stole the show with 12 points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes, while Clark amassed eight points, seven assists, and five rebounds over 29 minutes of playing time. 

"It was weird," Martin admitted after the game. "I'm not going to lie — just looking out on the court and seeing her in a different jersey than me, it was obviously different. But it's really fun. We're both living out our dreams right now."

The Aces next meet the fever on July 2nd at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Barcelona Beat Lyon to Win Back-to-Back Champions League Titles

Barcelona's Aitana Bonmatí and Alexia Putellas celebrating after beating Lyon at the 2024 Champions League final
Ballon d'Or winners Aitana Bonmatí and Alexia Putellas helped Barcelona to a second-straight UWCL title on Saturday. (Ramsey Cardy - Sportsfile/UEFA via Getty Images)

Barcelona was crowned champion of the Champions League on Saturday with a 2-0 win over Lyon in Bilbao.

Alexia "La Reina" Putellas, who recently re-signed with Barcelona, came off the bench to score the team's second goal. Fellow Ballon d’Or winner Aitana Bonmatí provided the team’s first. After the game, defender Lucy Bronze said Putellas was nicknamed "the queen" for a reason.

"Alexia is the captain of the team and she's the queen of Barcelona for a reason,"  defender Lucy Bronze told DAZN. "She's got the quality to do that in the last minute of the Champions League final when we were up against it at the end and it just sealed the win for us. It was amazing."

The victory marked Barcelona's first win over Lyon in a UWCL final, having previously gone up against the French side at both the 2019 and 2022 Champions League finals. It's also Barcelona's second Champions League title in a row.

"It's hard to win it once, but to do it back-to-back, Lyon showed how difficult it is and this team has finally done that," Bronze said. "I think we go down in history as one of the best teams in Europe."

This season, the team also secured a quadruple for the first time in club history, having already won Liga F, the Copa de la Reina, and the Spanish Supercopa. The win ensures that coach Jonatan Giráldez — who has officially departed the team to join the NWSL's Washington Spirit — leaves Europe a champion.

"It was an incredible game. I am really happy, it's one of the best days of my life for sure," Giráldez told broadcaster DAZN after the game. "We did an amazing job. I am very proud of all of them."

Following the win, Putellas said her team "can't ask for anything else."

"Our objective was to win four out of four," the Spain international told reporters. "We have achieved everything we wanted. Every minute of sacrifice has been worth the effort — and I'd say that not after the game, but before, just entering in the stadium, with all the support we had here, it was worth it."

2024 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Aitana Bonmatí said that the crowd support made it "feel like Camp Nou."

"I am on cloud nine right now," she said. "It is an historic day which we will remember forever."

Sun’s Alyssa Thomas Ejected After Flagrant 2 on Sky Rookie Angel Reese

Angel Reese said there were "no hard feelings" stemming from Alyssa Thomas's flagrant foul. (Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Angel Reese might have gotten knocked down on Saturday, but she got right back up again. 

Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas was ejected from the Sun’s 86-82 win over Chicago following a flagrant foul 2 on Reese — the first of her career. While the two were battling for a rebound, Reese took a clothesline hold around the neck courtesy of Thomas before hitting the ground.

After the game, Reese told reporters that there were "no hard feelings" and she appreciated Thomas for playing her hard beneath the basket.

"I know she purposely probably didn’t do it towards me," Reese said. "But just being able to come out there and just be strong and stand on two feet, it was going to be a tough game and that’s what I’m built for. And my teammates had my back throughout the whole game. So I was prepared for it."

She also didn’t buy into the idea that it was a "Welcome to the WNBA" moment, but thanked Thomas "sending a message" because it helped her get back up and "keep pushing."

"It’s not just because I’m a rookie. I’m a player. I’m a basketball player. They don’t give a damn if I’m a rookie. I mean, I want them to come at me every day. I want them to come at everybody," she added. "I mean, they’re not supposed to be nice to me. I hope y’all know that. They’re not supposed to be nice to me or lay down because I’m Angel Reese or because I’m a rookie."

Reese finished the game with 13 points, five rebounds, and two assists over 33 minutes.

Barcelona to Face Lyon in Champions League Rematch This Weekend

UEFA Women's Champions League Final"Barcelona FC - Olympique Lyonnais"
Saturday's game will be the third UWCL final meeting for Barcelona and Lyon, having previously gone up against each other in 2019 and 2022. (ANP via Getty Images)

The UEFA Women's Champions League final kicks off in Bilbao on Saturday, with a couple of familiar foes set to face off for the trophy.

Olympique Lyonnais Féminin, making its 11th final appearance since 2010, will go head to head with a Barcelona side making its fourth final appearance in a row.

This will be the third time these two teams meet in the UWCL title game, having previously appeared in the 2019 and 2022 finals. Lyon won both of those prior games against Barcelona, alongside a total of eight Champions League trophies. That’s double that of any other club, with Eintracht Frankfurt coming in a distant second with four. 

Should Barcelona win, this would be the team's third title — breaking a tie for the third in the UWCL total titles race. 

But as these teams return to the UWCL final, it also marks the end of an era for both clubs. The game will be the last for both club managers, as Barcelona’s Jonatan Giráldez and Lyon’s Sonia Bompastor depart for new jobs after the season's end.

Giráldez is set to leave for the NWSL's Washington Spirit, while Bompastor will take over for incoming USWNT coach Emma Hayes at Chelsea. Both coaches have earned one UWCL trophy during their tenures, while Bompastor also brought two Champions League trophies to Lyon as a player. She was the first coach to win a UWCL trophy as both a coach and player.

This season, Barcelona is looking for its first quadruple, having won a fifth Liga F title alongside the Copa de La Reina, and the Spanish Supercopa. 

"We hope he can go out with the four trophies because we know how competitive and ambitious he is," Barcelona midfielder Patri Guijarro told ESPN. "It has been a winning era with him in charge and for him to go out with all four trophies would be historic and incredible."

But Lyon's Damaris Egurrola is excited about her team's chances of overcoming Barcelona once again — and to do it in front of family and friends.

"Lyon have something special," she told Forbes ahead of the weekend's final. "We have a great team and we have the players with enough talent to win any match."

The game will be a homecoming for Egurrola, who began her professional career with Athletic Bilbao.

"I’ve been thinking of this day and night," she said. "I’ve been dreaming of playing this match. Having the opportunity to play in San Mames is amazing. This is where it all started for me."

The UEFA Women's Champions League final kicks off Saturday, May 25th at 12 PM ET and is free to stream on DAZN.

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