Every time I watched Jessie Loera play basketball, I came away with the same conclusion—she is a bulldog. And not just in a sense that she’s a Gonzaga Bulldog, though she certainly embodies everything you want from a Zag. She played with a tenacity and energy at both ends of the floor that endeared her to fans and made her a coach’s dream.
As a freshman, she immediately earned a place in Lisa Fortier’s rotation thanks to her defensive acumen and ability to serve as a steady hand in facilitating the offense. Over the course of each season you could see Loera’s confidence and talent grow, and she rewarded the coaching staff’s faith in her as her role evolved to fit the team’s needs.
Loera has provided a lot of highlights over her career, including the 8-steal game (!!) against Loyola Marymount as a senior, scoring 12 points in the first half against Stanford during the NCAA Tournament, and an emotional Senior Night when she was surprised by her sister Jamie who plays basketball at Arizona State.
Gonzaga senior guard Jessie Loera got a neat surprise on her Senior Night. Her sister Jamie, who is a guard at Arizona State, showed up to Jessie's final home game and well it got emotional. @ZagWBB @jloballer @jamieloera1 pic.twitter.com/4uVmtU7ZPR— Karthik Venkataraman (@KREMKarthik) February 15, 2020
Most significantly, her time at Gonzaga coincided with a lot of winning, as she contributed to a WCC regular season title and NCAA Tournament berth in each of her four seasons after the Zags missed the Tournament in 2015.
Distinguishing yourself in a family that features a lot of basketball talent (Mom and sister Jordan played at Oregon; Jamie plays at Arizona State; brother at Big Bend CC) can be difficult, but Loera made her imprint at Gonzaga.
After four years, the point guard from Moses Lake leaves Gonzaga No. 4 on the all-time assists list (445) and in the company of some of the program’s greatest athletes (behind only Courtney Vandersloot’s ridiculous 1118 assists; Shannon Mathews-600; and Laura Stockton-462).
Like many others during this strange time in world history, Loera’s collegiate career came to a premature and abrupt halt as the team prepared for the NCAA Tournament, and it’s shame she didn’t get to put on a Gonzaga jersey a few more times. Loera indicated before the end of the season that she plans to play professionally overseas, so Gonzaga fans will still have the chance to follow her career. No matter where she ends up, she’ll always be a Bulldog.