If there’s one strength of Cal women’s basketball head coach Charmin Smith, it’s recruiting.
Since assuming the role in June 2019, the former WNBA player has managed to bring to Berkeley the nation’s seventh-best recruiting class in 2020. Headlining the list of future stars are players such as Jayda Curry — the Pac-12’s leading scorer in 2021 — and the 13th best recruit of 2020 Dalayah Daniels, who reportedly entered the transfer portal March 24.
However, Smith’s recruiting efforts aren’t just limited to prospective freshmen. Over the weekend, the Bears welcomed two new faces to their team, Sirena “Peanut” Tuitele and Claudia Langarita, from the transfer portal.
“Peanut had us at hello,” said Smith. “Peanut has the grit and competitiveness that is needed to compete in the Pac-12.”
Tuitele, who officially signed with Cal on Friday, played significant minutes for Colorado over the course of three seasons. The 6’1” forward averaged 7.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest on an efficient 51% clip in her junior year. After starting 94 games, Tuitele can be expected to play just as large of a role with the Bears as she did with the Buffaloes — especially given Cal center Fatou Samb’s recent opting in to the transfer portal.
Langarita also brings formidable talent to the frontcourt. Across the San Francisco Bay, she was USF’s third leading scorer during the 2021-22 season, posting 10.5 points per game. Listed at 6’4”, the freshman forward can stretch the floor just as efficiently as she can anchor the paint, as evidenced by a 35.7% 3-point average in high school.
Following a historically successful 9-2 start, Cal’s end to its last season was anticlimactic. Granted, the team is young — the Bears bid farewell to only one senior, Sierra Richey, in 2022.
Tuitele and Langarita both bring welcome experience to round out Cal’s roster. All eyes will be on Smith to see how she can maximize the new recruits’ potential next season.