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The End of an Era for LeeAnne Wirth

LeeAnne Wirth did everything the team ever asked of her.

Gonzaga v Portland Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

Nearly one-third of the rebounds LeeAnne Wirth grabbed this year came on the offensive glass, averaging two points per game. For a team that often times did not shoot the ball at the highest percentage, these second-chance points were a defining feature of the Gonzaga Bulldogs onslaught.

For Wirth, this evolution of her game is an example of her entire time at Gonzaga, in which she rode behind her sister in terms of first-name recognition, but stood up to take charge when called upon. In her freshman season, she was called upon to be a defensive specialist.—and she followed through. She led all bench players in offensive rebounds and created havoc down low, averaging 0.5 steals in just 11 minutes per game.

In her sophomore season, her sister Jenn went down with a hand injury before the season started, and LeeAnne was thrust into the starting rotation. She started all 34 games for the Zags, increasing all of her totals across the board, including those crucial offensive rebounds. Her junior year, alongside her now healthy sister Jenn, it was more of the same.

Which brings us to the senior year. LeeAnne Wirth had established herself as a defensive menace in her time at Gonzaga, but her senior year saw an impressive leap for Wirth’s midrange game. In her first three seasons, the best she shot from two-point range was 47.6 percent. This past season, Wirth jacked up that rate to 58.2 percent. Her points per shot attempt skyrocketed from 1.02 her junior season to 1.21 her senior year. And, she did all of this while attacking the offensive and defensive glass more aggressively.

For a basketball team that was less about the individual players and more than sum of the deep bench that fueled it, LeeAnne Wirth is a primary example of how the women’s program operates. Players do every little thing and they do it well.

Unfortunately, none of the trio of the Wirth twins plus Jill Townsend heard their names called during the WNBA Draft. LeeAnne Wirth largely was not expected to—that doesn’t mean her career is over, by any means. She has the talent to play overseas, and we very well might be seeing that happen in the near future.