For yet another season, Portland finds themselves at the bottom of the league, but they have so many bright spots. Kaylie Van Loo is the leader of the team. She leads the team in assists and provides a good amount of scoring for the Pilots. Holly Blades leads the team with her high three point percentage (32%) and her nose for the basket. The Pilots can always could on Blades to put the ball in the basket, and she is a huge reason why they are leading the league in three pointers made during league play. Lastly, Hannah Mattson seems to be the heart of the team. She plays with confidence and is perhaps the most consistent player on the team.
Jackie Johnson, as a transfer from Minnesota, has been huge for the Lions this season. She is leading the team averaging 16.4 points per game. She also leads the team in minutes per game (33.9), blocks (43), and steals (32). For a Lions team that is struggling mightily in league, Johnson has been one of the few bright spots. Along with Johnson, Cheyanne Wallace has been playing extremely well. She is second on the team in points. Wallace had five 20 point games already this season, and another game where she had 19 points. Leslie Lopez Wood has been less effective than some would have thought this season. After commanding the team and drawing ample attention from opponents, she seems to have taken a step back this season (or teams have figured out how to guard her). Still, she has scored almost 200 points and is playing big minutes for the Lions.
San Diego (3-4)
Maya Hood is the biggest name on this team. Over the course of her career she has been a go to player for San Diego, and that continued in her senior year until she suffered a season ending knee injury. She scored 163 points and was shooting 57.5% from the field. Katherine Hamilton has been a huge contributor for the Toreros this season, especially with Hood out. Hamilton has scored 175 points and is spearheading the Toreros campaign. But will she have enough support behind her without Hood to lead the Toreros to the top of the WCC?
Sydney Bordonaro is all over the stats sheet for the Waves. She has led them in points in 5 games this season, and is only a Redshirt Freshman. Bordonaro is going to be around for a while and cause problems for other teams in the league. Yasmine Robinson-Bacote has done just about everything for the Waves. As only a sophomore, Robinson-Bacote has led the team in points in eight games, and has led the team in rebounds in ten games. The Waves have an incredibly young team and have proven that they can beat the best. Look for them to be in the top of the league in the next few years.
San Francisco (4-3)
Anna Seilund is best described as the silent assassin for the Dons. Although not a natural point guard, Seilund is leading the Dons to a season that not many people expected. She’s shooting 29% from three and makes all of her shots count. When Seilund is scoring, she is scoring in bunches. Rachel Howard is very obviously the soul of this team. She has scored in double figures in all but 4 of the games this season, including four games over 20 points, and one over 30. Plus she is shooting 34.1% from deep. She plays big minutes for the Dons and is a jack of all traits. Howard is often called upon to play every position on the court, and handles it with no problems. Howard sees the court extremely well, and is an excellent passer as well as an excellent scorer. She handles every play and every game with extreme confidence and poise. If you have not seen Rachel Howard play, I would recommend watching the Dons play at least once.
Saint Mary’s (4-3)
Unlike most teams in the league, St. Mary’s has a very balanced team. Every game a different player seems to step up and lead the team. But Carly Turner has stood out in my mind. She plays with great tempo and confidence and scores at a high rate. She is consistent with her scoring and the Gaels can count on her to put the ball in the basket. A player that I think is a huge part in the St. Mary’s team is Devyn Galland, and that might surprise some people, but the fifth year senior is, in my opinion, the most underrated player in the league. While Galland is not putting up a high number of points, she is a steady workhorse for the Gaels, and is a leader through and through. Galland’s absence was noticeable when she missed two games in league, one of which was a close loss to Gonzaga. If Galland can stay healthy for the rest of the season, her presence combined with Carly Turner, Stella Beck, Sydney Raggio, and Megan McKay, could lead to the Gaels making a run for the top of the WCC.
Santa Clara (4-3)
Marie Bertholdt has been a force in her years at Santa Clara, and is wreaking the same havoc on the league in her senior campaign. She is averaging over 9 points per game, and draws attention from opposing teams. Although an injury seemed to keep her out of a majority of the recent contest with Gonzaga. Will the remainder of her season and career at Santa Clara be dampened by an injury? Perhaps the most important player for the Broncos is Lori Parkinson. Parkinson is leading the team in points per game with 15.2. She is averaging one block and 2.7 steals per game in league so far. A smaller name for Santa Clara, Emily Wolph, is playing a huge role for the Broncos. As one of the smallest players in the league, Wolph has proved her worth with her quickness and her three point shot. She is shooting an outstanding 39.5% from behind the arc, and she is actually leading the team in points. The future is bright for this red shirt sophomore.
The big game changer for the Tigers has been GeAnna Luaulu-Summers. Luaulu-Summers has stepped up her game since league has started. She has scored more than half of her total points on the season during league play. She is also shooting over 35% from three point range. Desire Finnie has also been big for the Tigers. Finnie is leading the team in points with 218 and 92 in league play. The best part about this duo is that they are both juniors and will both be back next season.
Cassie Broadhead has been an absolute warrior for the Cougars this season. She has played 95% of the minutes so far this season. Not only is Broadhead playing almost every minute of every game, but she is also scoring at high rates. She is averaging 18.1 points per game and has scored 326 points this season. Alongside Broadhead, Kalani Purcell has made a big impact for the Cougars in her second season with them. She has scored 226 points and also leads the team in assists with 84. Lastly, Makenzi Pulsipher is having a great season in her final year with the Cougars. Pulsipher is averaging 13.2 points per game and shooting almost 34% from three. The Cougars big three are looking to lead them to another WCC championship.
Jill Barta is a handful for everyone in the league. A colleague once described Barta better than I could. They said that Jill Barta is a stud, and one of the best players in the country. And that is the truth. Barta is making a name for herself. She is shooting 36.8% from behind the arc, and 82% from the free throw line. Her minutes have been steadily increasing and she is making them count. Barta has scored 312 points this season and has been averaging 17.3 points per game. Behind Barta, Elle Tinkle has been pretty constant for the Zags. Every game Tinkle shows up and cleans up the glass, scores big baskets, and throws her body on the line for the team. Elle Tinkle is the ultimate team player, and she makes the Zags go. With Barta as the workhorse and Tinkle as the heart, the Zags look to bounce back from a disappointing season last year and land atop the league once again.
Now to the really fun part. Everyone will have different opinions on the best players in the league, but in my opinion, the starting 5 in the WCC are:
Devyn Galland (G)
Rachel Howard (G)
Cassie Broadhead (G)
Jackie Johnson (F)
Jill Barta (F)
Who do you think are the best players in the WCC this season?