Houston caps three-member UConn class

Charde Houston, one of the nation's most sought-after prep recruits -- and one of the last to decide where she'll spend the next four years -- has signed a letter of intent to attend Connecticut.

Houston, a 6-foot-1 forward from San Diego, is one of three players to sign with the Huskies, UConn coach Geno Auriemma announced late Tuesday.

"I feel we signed exactly what we need," Auriemma said. "We signed a good guard who can push the ball, another guard who can shoot and is a tough kid who knows how to play, and someone who can do a lot of things and is the best offensive player to come out of high school in Charde Houston. I feel pretty good about our class."

Houston, who was named to the 2003 Adidas Camp Super Six, has scored 2,676 points at San Diego High School, just 770 behind the state-record 3,446 of Riverside Poly's Cheryl Miller (1980-1982) and 649 behind the section-record 3,325 of Santa Fe Christian's Brandi Collato (1998-2000). Houston is ranked as the No. 3 player nationally by All-Star Girls Report and is a 2003 Parade Magazine All-America Second Team choice.

Ketia Swainer, a 5-7 guard from Columbus, Ga., averaged 23.2 points, 8.5 steals, 6.3 assists and 5.8 rebounds during her junior season at Columbus High, where she won back-to-back Georgia AAAA All-State First Team honors. Swainer, a 2002 Street & Smith's Honorable Mention All-America, also was the 2003 Georgia AAAA Region Player of the Year.

Mel Thomas, a 5-9 guard from Cincinnati, averaged 18.3 points, 5.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds while guiding Mount Notre Dame to a 23-3 record and the Ohio Division I Regional Final as a junior. She averaged 25.2 points as a sophomore, and was a 2002 Adidas Top Ten Camp Upperclass All-Star and attended the 2003 Nike All-America camp.

The early signing period ends Wednesday.