Jenn Wirth was thrown into the deep end of the pool as a true freshman last season, but showed she has what it takes to swim on her own.
The 6’3” forward, whom we are obligated to mention has a twin sister on the team (Leanne) per the rules of identical twins, was leaned on to contribute right away during her first year on campus. Wirth started two games last season and played the most minutes per game out of Gonzaga’s freshmen class with 18.1mpg, en route to averaging 4.6ppg and 3.2rpg while finishing second on the team in field goal percentage (48.9%). With Jill Barta’s early departure after being drafted in the third round of the WNBA Draft, Wirth will be expected to play a more prominent role as the Gonzaga ladies aim to return to the NCAA Tournament for a third consecutive season without their star.
Though the departure of Barta can’t be filled by a single player, Wirth is well-positioned to at least pick up a significant chunk of the slack after being utilized as the first forward off the bench in last year’s rotation. As many freshmen post players experience, Wirth struggled with fouls early in the season as she adapted to collegiate play. But, she battled well on the boards and showed flashes of being a legitimate offensive option in the post. Head coach Lisa Fortier will surely expect her to continue to elevate her game after picking up so much quality experience over the last year.
As a member of a very athletic family (her older sister played in the WNBA and overseas; and her father pitched for parts of three seasons with the Oakland Athletics), Wirth is familiar with what it takes to compete at a high level. It also can’t hurt that she and her sister Leanne have been natural partners to push each other competitively for their entire lives, and they will likely be competing with one another for a starting spot along side Zykera Rice. That partnership and natural competition have brought them this far, and Lisa Fortier will hope it continues to pay dividends during the upcoming season.