The Gonzaga Bulldogs were the complete package last season. That is what makes the lost postseason that much more painful. They balanced an experienced frontcourt with an experienced backcourt. This year, with the graduations of Jessie Loera and Katie Campbell, it is up to seniors Jill Townsend, Jenn Wirth, and LeeAnne Wirth to lead the squad.
LeeAnne Wirth made some important leaps in production last season. She averaged 8.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. Her 40 steals ranked second on the squad, and that level of defense is important to hold down the post, and a key part of the Zags’ identity.
Gonzaga is a defensive-focused squad, rated No. 7 by Her Hoop Stats last season. That is one of the areas in which is is key for Wirth to maintain her intensity. The Zags were one of the top rebounding teams in the nation, largely because they held opponents to just a eFG% of 39.5. It is paramount for Gonzaga’s continued success that Wirth continues her growth on the defensive end.
Offensively, we can hopefully see a slight uptick in production from LeeAnne. She took less shots in her junior year over her sophomore year, but she made a large increase in the quality of her shots, bringing up her points per scoring attempt from 0.89 to 1.02. She also did a better job of drawing contact and getting to the line.
In her senior year, we can expect more of the same from Wirth. Head coach Lisa Fortier runs a deep bench, so we probably won’t see a meaningful increase in minutes. But if Wirth is able to continue to show an improved shot and a determination to chase down every single rebound possible, she will be the continued rock in the post for the Gonzaga Bulldogs.