Sophia Elenga, a 6-1 forward from Cochise College in Douglas, Ariz., signed a letter of intent with Arizona State women’s basketball Wednesday.
Elenga joins 6-5 center Eva Rubin and 6-0 forward Bre’yanna Sanders, high-schoolers who signed in November, in ASU’s 2017 recruiting class. The Sun Devils also are adding forward Courtney Ekmark, who sat out this season as a transfer from Connecticut, as they replace departing Sophie Brunner, Kelsey Moos and Quinn Dornstauder. And coach Charli Turner Thorne might not be done yet adding this spring for next season and beyond.
Elenga averaged 12.4 points and 8.3 rebounds for Cochise, which won conference and district titles to qualify for NJCAA Division I nationals. She made all-conference and all-district first team, creating a high demand for the sophomore from France.
Turner Thorne said, “Our young team just took another step forward with the addition of Sophia, an outstanding, versatile and seasoned forward. She is not only a complete offensive player who can score in a variety of ways, she is also a tough, disciplined defender. Sophia aligns with our team culture because she is a hardworking, giving, and passionate teammate. We welcome her maturity and grateful spirit.”
“Sophia is a great fit for ASU,” Cochise coach Laura Hughes said. “She was a dominant player who can transition to the next level. She has good length and can spread the floor. She runs the floor well and can defend on the perimeter and inside. She’s a great person, hard working and very unselfish. She fits into Charli’s whole personality.”
Hughes was an assistant under Turner Thorne for 15 years before taking the Cochise job in 2011. “I never tried to sway her in a certain way,” Hughes said. “Sophia is very mature and knows what she wants. The credit goes to Charli and her staff. They made a really good connection.”
Elenga said ASU is “a good fit and was my best opportunity. It’s about the people. Because I was talking to ASU for a long time, we breed relation and that helped to make my decision.”
Elenga could play at the power forward position replacing 6-1 Brunner and also has perimeter skills. “I think I’m a very versatile player,” she said. “When I was home (in France), I was playing as a three. I need to develop my skill more on the perimeter. I can play on a mismatch (inside) and defend against a post player and guard too.”
After growing up 30 minutes from Paris, Elenga looks foward to returning to city life after two years in Douglas. “It was hard the first year,” she said. “I didn’t speak English well and was far from home. Everything was different. But I was surrounded by good people here, and now this feels like another home.”
ASU finished 20-13 this season, losing 71-68 to eventual national champion South Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.