Leading up to the early signing period, there are plenty of high schoolers who we have little idea of where they're going. But in 2015, there was no doubt where Laura Stockton was going.
Born and raised in Spokane, Laura had every intention of following in her father and older brother David's footsteps to playing for the Gonzaga Bulldogs. And she looked the part early on, leading Gonzaga Prep (same school Anton Watson attends) to a state title her senior year. She averaged over 17 points, five rebounds and five assists throughout the season, and was a great pickup for coach Lisa Fortier.
In her freshman season she came off the bench for Georgia Stirton and played 18 minutes a game. She played in all 33 games off the bench and with all the injuries surrounding the team, Stockton contributed well.
Her average in scoring was 6.7 ppg, and had a turnover ratio of 1.2. She registered an assist in all but three games and had a career high 15 vs Utah in the NIT, one of eight double digit games.
While her freshman season didn't go as well team wise, her sophomore season was about growth, not just basketball wise but in her leadership as well.
The non-conference portion went well for the Bulldogs, and with a healthy roster coming into league play the conference was Gonzaga's to lose. But something unexpected happened, the Zags lost both of the opening weeks games, starting WCC play 0-2. Stockton was off in the first game on the road at Pepperdine, going 1/7 for four points. While she did well individually in the second game with 14 points, the team suffered an embarrassing defeat at home to Pacific.
That led to Laura's own Tim Tebow moment on Twitter addressing the early struggles:
Clearly those words led to actions, as the team won 15 straight games before a loss to BYU to close out the regular season. But the individual highlight of the season was the game winning jumper by Stockton at home against Saint Mary's.
She continued her steady play against the Gaels and the rest of the competition in the WCC tournament, where she contributed no less than five assists in each of the three games. While Gonzaga lost in the first round to Oklahoma in the NCAA tournament, Stockton at times single-handedly kept the team in the game late in the fourth quarter, finishing with 14.
She improved from her freshman year in just about every category except three point shooting, where she dropped from 30% - 22%. Other than that, it was a successful season for her, as she now heads into her junior year.
As an upperclassmen now, Stockton's presence and leadership will be counted on now more than the previous two seasons combined. A lot of seniors the past two years have moved on and there's a question who'll be the voice of the team. If it's the youngest Stockton, then the Zags are in good shape.