#38 Gonzaga Women's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Gonzaga Bulldogs
Overall Rank: #38
Conference Rank: #2 West Coast
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Gonzaga has won five straight West Coast Conference titles, but this could be the year the rest of the conference sees their opportunity to put an end to that streak. The Bulldogs lose their top three scorers. Jill Townsend, Jenn Wirth and LeeAnne Wirth have been huge reasons for the team’s recent success. With those losses, Gonzaga has a large group of former role-players who should be ready to step into the spotlight. This may not be Gonzaga’s best team ever, but do not expect the Bulldogs to fall too far.
2020-21 Record: 23-4, 16-1
2020-21 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Lisa Fortier
Coach Record: 178-47 at Gonzaga, 178-47 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Jill Townsend, Guard, 13.5 ppg
Jenn Wirth, Forward, 12.7 ppg
LeeAnne Wirth, Forward, 8.9 ppg
Lily Scanlon, Guard, 2.3 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Kayleigh Truong, Junior, Guard, 7.8 ppg
Melody Kempton, Senior, Forward, 6.6 ppg
Cierra Walker, Senior, Guard, 6.5 ppg
Kaylynne Truong, Junior, Guard, 4.1 ppg
Yvonne Ejim, Sophomoe, Guard, 3.7 ppg
Abby O’Connor, Senior, Guard, 2.7 ppg
Eliza Hollingsworth, Sophomore, Forward, 2.4 ppg
Anamaria Virjoghe, Senior, Forward, 1.7ppg
McKayla Williams, Sophomore, Guard, 0.4 ppg
Key New Players
Kylee Griffin, Senior, Forward
Maude Huijbens, Freshman, Forward, Transfer from Syracuse
Esther Little, Freshman, Forward
Payton Muma, Freshman, Guard
Bree Salenbien, Freshman, Guard
Calli Stokes, Freshman, Guard
The top three scorers are gone, but the next seven scorers are back. Kayleigh and Kaylynee Truong are prepared to take the lead. Both are capable shooters, ball handlers and defenders. Kayleigh is the team’s top returning scorer at 7.8 points per game. They will team up with sharpshooter Cierra Walker, who hit 40.5 percent of her team high 111 three-point attempts last season. Sophomore Yvonne Ejim did not see too much playing time as a freshman, but she showed flashes of potential. Incoming freshman Bree Salenbien and senior Abby O’Connor add more talented options for Coach Fortier to work with. Melody Kempton is the main returning frontcourt option. She only started one game, but managed to average 6.6 points and 3.6 rebounds. Kempton shot an impressive 60.7 percent from the floor and she could be in for a huge senior season. Maude Huijbens played just one game as a freshman at Syracuse due to an injury. The highly regarded recruit should make a big splash if she can stay healthy. This will be an interesting season for Gonzaga. They do not have a returning superstar, but it should be a balanced group that has the talent to win their sixth straight WCC title.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.0 (76th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 55.2 (13, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.9 (11, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.8 (67, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.0 (154, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.1 (28, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.9 (49, 3)
Rebound Margin: 13.8 (4, 1)
Assists Per Game: 17.4 (11, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.9 (120, 3)
Madness 2021 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#56 Breanne Salenbien