Last season was a hallmark year for recruiting for Lisa Fortier and the coaching staff. They managed to secure the commitments of three top-100 players and another just right outside in what was one of the best classes ever for the women.
This past week, the rich keeps getting richer with two girls signing letters of intent to play for the Zags next season.
First up is Melody Kempton, the No. 96 ranked player for 2018 and the 20th ranked forward according to ESPNW recruting. She hails from Post Falls Idaho and was easily one of the best players in the state. In her junior year she averaged 15.0 ppg and 8.2 rpg for her high school team. She has good athleticism and defense, and can be compared to a current Zykera Rice.
Although Emma Wolfram is graduating, the four spot is pretty much solidified for next year with Rice, Barta and the Wirth twins all returning for next season. Of course like the men have taught us, a red shirt year can be very beneficial for a player. She grew up as a Zag fan and will have the opportunity to put on the uniform.
The other signee is 6’1 Kylee Griffen, the 11th best wing in the class and No. 87 overall. She comes from the state of Washington in Marysville, and has been a very early commitment for the team. At Lake Stevens high school, she averaged 17.7 ppg and 9.4 rpg at the wing spot, and is a versatile player who can play and guard all-around the perimeter. She only made seven threes last season, so don’t consider her to become a sharpshooter. Griffen is more of a slasher and play-maker.
This player has a great chance to play immediately, as she fills a void at the wing position, and while I haven’t seen her play, she has the characteristics to be similar to recently graduated Elle Tinkle.
There’s two more recruits ranked in the top-100 for the Zags, and right now no other team in the WCC has even one. As an aside, apparently Loyola Marymount had two players in the top-75 for the 2017 class. They figure to be in the middle this season, but look out for the Lions potentially in the future.
There’s already been a gap between Gonzaga and the other teams, and this next class will only increase it. But next year is very key, as five players, including both Barta and Laura Stockton will be leaving. The class of 2019 will be huge in quantity, and hopefully in quality.