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A look back on Kayleigh Truong’s season

The sophomore made major strides

NCAA Women’s Basketball-WCC Tournament-BYU vs Gonzaga Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

To utilize your two WCC Player of the Year scorers, you need to be able to get them the ball. And thanks to sophomore Kayleigh Truong, the Zags’ offense was able to do just that. The 5’9 guard maintained the vaunted offense through dynamic passing and helped shore up their defense to boot.

Truong’s steadiness was readily visible in her freshman season. Out of the gate she scored 18 points as a freshman on 4-6 from behind the arc and played major minutes from the beginning. Those minutes were expanded due to teammate Katie Campbell tearing her ACL. The adjustment led to Truong having to wear more hats than you’d expect a freshman to have to.

Truong would go on to average 6 points and 2.7 assists as a secondary ball handler and starter. She would go on to earn WCC honors as a member of the conference’s All-Freshman team. She helped with her outside shooting as well, hitting at a 37% clip.

Her sophomore year saw her role expand to primary offensive starter, leading to a major increase in assists and offensive looks. When we previewed the 20-21 season, editor Keith Ybanez emphasized that for Truong to build off of her freshman season she’d need to improve her reads and improve on her assist-to-turnover ratio.

And she did just that. Truong ballooned her 76 assists from the previous season to 110 with her additional minutes. Her aggressive style still allowed for her to improve her assist-to-turnover rate from 1.33 to 1.86. Truong’s aggressive style is the major contributor to her turnovers as she tries often to thread the needle and push the offense.

Truong finished the year averaging 7.8 points on 38.9% shooting and 4.1 assists per game. Truong showed flashes of being a passing virtuoso her freshman year, with a high of 7 assists once that year. Her sophomore year saw her racking up 7 assists or more four times throughout the shortened season. And when she was on, she was unstoppable.

She dimed up 9 assists against St. Mary’s in only 23 minutes with one lone turnover at the end of January. In only 21 minutes against Pepperdine, she ratcheted 7 assists and no turnovers in a 46 point win.

What is harder to articulate is Truong’s expansion in her defensive skill set. Though only averaging 1 steal a game, Truong was tasked with difficult defensive assignments while also expanding her understanding of reading opposing offenses and how to disrupt their ball handler.

Truong will be looked at to help lead the Zags as they reload in the upcoming season. Truong will need to continue to work on her shooting as the Zags lose Jill Townsend and continue to improve her reads of opposing defenses. She will go from starting point guard and facilitator to likely an offensive focal point that will need to enact on whatever defenses give her.

But as the last year has proven, Truong is up for the challenge.