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After visiting the Purdue campus about a month ago, Haley Bodnar decided she'd seen enough. She didn't need to visit the other schools on her short list.

Bodnar, a 6-foot-3 center for the Desert Hills girls' basketball team, planned to sign a letter of intent with the Boilermakers of the Big Ten Conference later Wednesday.

"I just had a gut feeling I want to be here," Bodnar said. "I had a lot of good options, but just academically Purude is a great school, and a good balance between academics and basketball."

Bodnar earned first-team all-state honors as a junior last season after helping lead the Thunder to the Class 3A state title game, where it lost to Dixie.

She said Purdue first approached her during a summer tournament in Atlanta. The distance from her home in southern Utah wasn't a factor in her decision because she's lived "all over," including the Midwest.

"It's a college town," she said. "It's a lot like St. George, so it's like a home away from home."

Bodnar said she started the recruiting process with a list of about 80 schools before narrowing it to five — Baylor, Purdue, BYU, Northwestern and San Francisco.

She's thankful she can focus her attention on the season instead of worrying about where she's headed after her senior year.

"It is so nice," she said. "It's the biggest relief now. I can focus on my season. I don't have top worry about anything else."

- Kevin Winters Morriss —

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