The expectations for this year’s Gonzaga squad are high, and with good reason. A majority of the major pieces of the squad are seniors. Looking forward to the following season, the Zags will be replacing Cierra Walker, Jill Townsend, Jenn Wirth, LeeAnne Wirth, Gillian Barfield, and Louise Forsyth.
Loyola Chicago transfer Abby O’Connor will help to stem a bit of that bleeding. O’Connor will sit out this year due to NCAA transfer rules and will have one year of eligibility remaining. With it, her leadership and experience will come highly valued on a team looking to reload instead of restock.
O’Connor was named an honorable All-Missouri Valley Conference player last season, averaging 12.3 points and eight rebounds per game. She earned All-Defensive conference honors her sophomore year, and has averaged 12.5 points and seven rebounds over her collegiate career.
When O’Connor decided to join the Zags back in April, head coach Lisa Fortier knew she was getting a player that would slot in perfectly with the Zags’ style of play.
“Abby is a great fit for our program, and she will play an important role for us,” head women’s basketball coach Lisa Fortier said. “She is very versatile and can stretch the defense at the forward and dominate inside as a guard. She is a very good shooter who finishes well from the paint, midrange and three-point line. She is also a really good student and will bring additional maturity to our team in two years. Abby is going to be a really good addition to our team. We are so happy to welcome her to the Zag Family.”
Good programs attract players like O’Connor. Graduate transfers are not as common of an occurrence in women’s basketball as they are in men’s, but transfers are one of the best ways to quickly and efficiently fill a potential gap when working on that tricky four year cycle of roster construction.
O’Connor will be the senior veteran on next year’s squad alongside Melody Kempton and Anamaria Virjoghe. Her experience will be just as much of an asset as whatever she produces on the offensive and defensive ends.