Memorial's Leilani Kapinus eyes a free throw, Sun Prairie takes on Madison Memorial in girls Big Eight Conference high school basketball on Friday, 11/16/18 in Madison, Wisconsin

Madison Memorial senior guard/forward Leilani Kapinus plans to announce her decision about which university she will attend and where she will play women’s college basketball during the early signing period, which begins Wednesday and goes through Nov. 20.

The 5-foot-11 Kapinus said after the Spartans’ girls basketball practice Tuesday night that her five finalists were the University of Minnesota, LSU, Arizona, Penn State and the University of Wisconsin. Without providing specifics, she said she has narrowed that list to two.

Kapinus, one of the top female basketball players in the state and one of the top recruits nationally in the class of 2020, is coming back from knee surgery after injuring her right knee during the Spartans’ fifth game last season.

Kapinus didn’t expect the decision to come Wednesday.

National Letters of Intent can be signed during the week-long period, and several area high schools plan signing ceremonies Wednesday. Madison Memorial typically schedules a ceremony for college-bound student-athletes in the spring. So, it is possible Kapinus’ upcoming announcement will come through social media or in a less-formal manner than a signing ceremony. She plans to tell the coaches on her finalist's list first. 

Kapinus, who said her knee feels strong, and the Spartans began practice Monday.

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She averaged 17.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 4.8 steals and 2.8 blocks in the five games she played last year.

Memorial advanced to the WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinals last year, losing to eventual state-runner-up Middleton 41-39.

Memorial is expected to be strong again this season, particularly with Kapinus returning and the addition of junior guard Mia Morel, who transferred from Marshall, which won the past two Division 3 state titles.

Kapinus was considered a top-10 recruit nationally in the class of 2020 prior to the injury, according to ESPN’s HoopGurlz rankings. She now is ranked 30th nationally in those rankings, and is the second-highest rated player from Wisconsin in the class of 2020.

La Crosse Aquinas senior guard Lexi Donarski is 12th. Donarski orally committed to Iowa State when she was an eighth-grader.


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Jon Masson covers high school sports for the Wisconsin State Journal. He has covered a variety of sports — including the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin men's and women's basketball and volleyball — since he first came to the State Journal in 1999.