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Otuafi transfers from BYU to Utah Valley

By Thomas Ranson Nevada News Group
Fallon alum Leilani Otuafi played one season at BYU and is transferring to Utah Valley University, another Division I school, to continue her basketball career.
Thomas Ranson


Fallon’s career points leader is on the move. 
After completing her first season with BYU, 2019 Fallon grad Leilani Otuafi is transferring to another Division I program – Utah Valley University, which competes in the Western Athletic Conference. 
“We are excited to add Leilani to our Wolverine family. Her personality is a perfect fit for us on and off the court,” Utah Valley University women’s basketball head coach Dan Nielson said of Otuafi, who will redshirt her sophomore season due to NCAA transfer rules. “She’s a great athlete and our fans will love her tough defensive play and ability to get to the basket. We can’t wait to see her in games during the ’21-22 season.”
Otuafi played in 18 games as a freshman this past season at BYU, averaging 1.8 points and 1.1 rebounds per game. She set her season high of nine points against Utah on Nov. 29. 
Otuafi made her first-ever start at the D1 level in January with her immediate family in attendance as the Cougars defeated Saint Mary’s College in the Bay Area. Otuafi’s cousin, Leta Otuafi, recently transferred from Utah State Eastern, a junior college, and will suit up for the Wolf Pack this year.
Otuafi didn’t know she was going to start until the day of the Saint Mary’s game. Aside from the nerves, she was pleased with her performance as the Cougars came out with the win. 
“It was pretty nerve racking, but it was a good opportunity to see what I could do and show the coach what I could do,” she said. “It was a good first start for me.”
During the second half of the season, Otuafi was injured and missed several games and then the pandemic shut down everything, including the conference tournament. BYU returns several talented guards, including seniors Paisley Johnson Harding, Maria Albiero and 2019 West Coast Conference Newcomer of the Year Shaylee Gonzales. 
Before her season with the Cougars, Otuafi, who competed in the Jam On It Program in Reno, headlined the Lady Wave program, leading the school to three state titles after exiting in the semifinals during her freshman year. Otuafi, who is the program’s all-time scorer with 1,400 points, was an all-state selection each of her four years, including a three-time league MVP and three-time first-team all-state selection.