#36 Gonzaga Women's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview

Gonzaga Bulldogs
Overall Rank: #36
Conference Rank: #1 West Coast
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Gonzaga should follow up their 26-7 campaign with another successful season in 2017-2018. The Bulldogs will again be led by Jill Barta. The 6-3 junior forward led the team with 16.8 points and added 6.0 rebounds and is poised for another big season. The frontcourt does need to replace Kiara Kudron though, who averaged 10.0 points and 7.8 rebounds. Zykera Rice and Emma Wolfram are experienced frontcourt players and now will have to step up and be ready to compliment Barta in the paint.
2016-17 Record: 26-7, 14-4
2016-17 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Lisa Fortier
Coach Record: 71-29 at Gonzaga, 71-29 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Kiara Kudron, Forward, 10.0 ppg
Ellie Tinkle, Guard, 8.3 ppg
Makenlee Williams, Guard, 4.5 ppg
Zhane Templeton, Guard, 4.3 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Jill Barta, Junior, Forward, 16.8 ppg
Laura Stockton, Junior, Guard, 8.0 ppg
Emma Stach, Senior, Guard, 5.8 ppg
Chandler Smith, Junior, Guard, 4.7 ppg
Zykera Rice, Junior, Forward, 4.4 ppg
Emma Wolfram, Senior, Center, 4.1 ppg
Jessie Loera, Sophomore, Guard, 2.4 ppg
Corryn Douglas, Sophomore, Guard
Key New Players
Gillian Barfield, Freshman, Guard
Katie Campbell, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer, Junior College
Louise Forsyth, Freshman, Guard
Jill Townsend, Freshman, Guard
Jenn Wirth, Freshman, Forward
LeeAnne Wirth, Freshman, Forward
The backcourt has a few key players to replace as well, but Gonzaga was a deep team in 2016-2017 and there are plenty of options for Coach Lisa Fortier. Laura Stockton and Emma Stach were regular starters last year and will step back into those roles. Stockton dished out 4.3 assists per game and she will be the one who sets up Barta and the rest of the scorers. Stach, along with Chandler Smith, will give the Bulldogs a couple of quality outside shooting options. Gonzaga will need to get some depth from the newcomers, but that should not be a problem. Along with junior college transfer Katie Campbell, incoming freshmen Jill Townsend, Louise Forsyth and Jenn Wirth are all highly touted recruits who have the talent to make an immediate impact. Yet another WCC title should be in the cards for Gonzaga and they could be a dangerous squad come March.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.0 (53rd in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 58.3 (46, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.6 (72, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 36.4 (27, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.8 (87, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.9 (118, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 77.4 (13, 2)
Rebound Margin: 8.1 (13, 2)
Assists Per Game: 15.8 (36, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.9 (124, 1)
Madness 2017 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#94 Jenn Wirth
#106 Louise Forsyth
#159 Jill Townsend