A new season brings new opportunities. For sophomore forward Gillian Barfield, those new opportunities will be welcome after a freshman campaign that only yielded nine minutes of game time spread out over seven contests.
Because of her limited play last season, Barfield is still very much an unknown in terms of what she will be able to contribute after her first year of development with the coaching staff. She was a three-sport athlete in high school, and played primarily in the post where she had a well-rounded game averaging 15.1ppg, 10rpg, 1.9apg, 2spg, and 3bpg.
The 6’1” Arizona native is a bit of a tweener at this point, she will face stiff competition for minutes both in the post and on the post. Inside, the Wirth twins and senior leader Zykera Rice are expected to have big roles during the upcoming season. On the wings, Chandler Smith, Jill Townsend, Katie Campbell, and highly touted freshmen Melody Kempton and Kylee Griffen will all be jockeying for places in the rotation.
When assessing Gonzaga’s roster construction and expected rotation, the path to a defined role for Barfield is not clear. She will likely need to be able to oscillate between the “three” and the “four” to get more time on the floor during the upcoming season. For players trying to work their way from the fringe, the quickest way to minutes is typically through defense, and that may be how Barfield carves out a place for herself at this juncture.
With games quickly approaching, we’ll find out soon enough whether she’s done enough to take a step forward.