#34 Gonzaga Women's Basketball 2012-13 Preview

Gonzaga Bulldogs

Overall Rank: #34
Conference Rank: #1 WCC
Gonzaga Women's College Basketball 2012-2013 Team Preview
Gonzaga Team Page


The Gonzaga Bulldog Women’s Basketball program has evolved arguably into the second best in the West behind perennial powerhouse Stanford. In 2011-12, after losing Courtney Vandersloot to the WNBA, the Bulldogs continued to cement their spot on the national scene with another trip to the Sweet 16 before falling short against UConn. Just two starters return in 2012-13 and this could be a year where it takes a little longer than normal for the Bulldogs to find their groove.

2011-12 Record: 28-6, 14-2
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kelly Graves
Coach Record: 260-125, at Gonzaga, 326-151 overall

The backcourt is buoyed by returning starters Senior Taelor Karr and Junior Haiden Palmer. Karr should provide plenty of stability to the point guard position as she led Gonzaga in assists last season with 152. Palmer is the leading returning scorer at 12.4 points per game, and was tough on the boards last season as she gathered 4.5 rebounds per contest. Junior Jazmine Redmon should transition from the bench to becoming the number three guard in the three-guard offensive system employed by Gonzaga. The player development capability of coach Graves and his staff as they have shown over the last few years with the talents of Vandersloot, Standish, and Redmon is outstanding. They have built a long lasting enduring program to take on all comers nationwide.

Very simply, the Bulldogs need to find answers to replace Kayla Standish and WNBA all-star Katelan Redmon, who both started all 34 games last season and combined for an average of nearly 30 points per game, and roughly 13 rebounds per game. Potential candidates to step and fill some of the slack lost by the graduation of Standish and Redmon include returning redshirt frontcourt players Shaniqua Nilles and post player Shelby Cheslek. In addition, sophomore Sunny Greinacher started two games in 2011-12 and shot the ball well with a .539 field-goal percentage from the floor. Also, incoming freshmen Chelsea Waters and Kiara Kudron could compete and be in the mix for early playing time in the frontcourt.

Final Projection:
The Bulldogs will be tested plenty in the non-conference slate as they will take on the likes of USC, Washington State and possibly Louisville in a tournament in Mexico. They also will host Ohio State and Stanford, which will be a fun matchup for the Tinkle sisters, Elle, a freshman for Gonzaga and big sister Joslyn for Stanford.  The experience in the backcourt should help expedite the transition for the Bulldogs as they get ready for West Coast Conference play. The ability to figure resolutions to replace Standish and Katelan Redmon are going to be critical to the overall success of this season for Gonzaga. If they can answer that quickly with getting key contributions from either returners like Greinacher or freshmen like Waters, who has plenty of upside potential. The Bulldogs should be able to knock off some more BCS power schools like Louisville in the nonconference slate. In regard to the West Coast Conference, Gonzaga is the cream of the crop unless proven otherwise.  They should be able to grind their way to another solid seed in spite of being in the WCC. I would expect to see the Bulldogs threaten again to make another run toward the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Haiden Palmer, Junior, Guard, 12.4 points per game
Taelor Karr, Senior, Guard, 9.9 points per game
Jazmine Redmon, Junior, Guard, 5.3 points per game
Sunny Greinacher, Sophomore, Forward, 3.9 points per game
Stephanie Golden, Junior, Center, 3.2 points per game