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NCAA recruiting: Notre Dame makes splash with two late signings

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Five-star guard Hannah Hidalgo signed with Notre Dame on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of FIBA)

The Notre Dame women’s basketball program made big moves to close out the early signing period, nabbing a pair of previously uncommitted top-25 recruits this week.

The Fighting Irish signed Hannah Hidalgo, the No. 5 recruit in the Class of 2023, on Tuesday after picking up Cassandre Prosper, the 12th-ranked player in the Class of 2023, a day earlier.

The early signing period allowed players to sign their National Letter of Intent with schools, beginning on Nov. 9 and running through Wednesday. While many were already committed to their respective schools, making the early signing period a formality, others were still uncommitted.

A five-star point guard, Hidalgo was the program’s biggest signing. During her three years at Paul VI (N.J.), she’s averaged 21.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.4 steals per game. She was also a part of the United States U17 national team that went 7-0 and claimed a gold medal at the 2022 FIBA U17 World Cup.

Hidalgo chose the Fighting Irish over the likes of Duke, Michigan, Ohio State, Stanford and UCF.

“Hannah brings swag, competitiveness and a relentless drive that will instantly elevate our program,” Notre Dame coach Niele Ivey said in a press release. “She is-multi dimensional, lightning fast and tenacious defensively with a scorer’s mentality and a high basketball IQ. Hannah does a great job of pushing pace and making everyone around her better.”

Prosper is another five-star prospect for Notre Dame. The 6-foot-2 forward was named MVP of the 2022 Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association Final 8 High School Championships last March after posting 33 points, 15 rebounds and two assists in the final game. Hailing from Montreal, Quebec, Prosper was also recognized as the league MVP for Cairine Wilson Secondary School, averaging 23.2 points, 13.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game over 10 contests last year.

“She is an explosive, dynamic guard with an incredible motor and skill set that is unmatched,” Ivey said. “Her international experience, athleticism and scorer’s mentality will be an immediate asset to our program.”

Here are two other previously uncommitted top-25 players who signed this week:

Juju Watkins (No. 2), USC

The 6-1 guard signed her NLI on Tuesday in front of a packed gymnasium at Sierra Canyon (Calif.). The signing aired live on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” Watkins is the reigning MaxPreps National Player of the Year and was the MVP at the U17 World Cup this summer. She chose USC over Stanford and South Carolina, potentially altering the trajectory of the Trojans’ women’s basketball program in the process.

“This is a young woman with transcendent talent, but she is also uniquely motivated,” USC coach Lindsay Gottlieb said about Watkins in a press release. “She is about things bigger than herself: her family, her team, her community, her city. Juju had the courage to stay home and is driven to bring USC women’s basketball back to prominence.”

Milaysia Fulwiley (No. 15), South Carolina

The 5-6 guard brings a dynamic skill set to the Gamecocks. Fulwiley is the three-time reigning South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association 3A State Player of the Year and has averaged over 20 points in each of her last three seasons. She’s coming off a 2021-22 campaign in which she averaged 29.6 points 8.8 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 4.6 steals per game for W.J. Keenan (S.C.).

The Columbia, S.C. native received an offer from the Gamecocks when she was in seventh grade. All four of South Carolina’s 2023 signees are ranked inside the top 50.

“She is a dynamic, explosive guard with exceptional speed, court vision and flair,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said about Fulwiley in a press release. “Her scoring mentality and competitive drive will be an immediate asset to our program.”

Trent Singer is the High School Editor at Just Women’s Sports. Follow him on Twitter @trentsinger.