The time is now for Kayleigh Truong. With the Zags losing their three leading scorers (all in the front court), this season will rely on the counterparts in the back court. Head coach Lisa Foriter and staff’s development plan has always accounted for this pivot, with Truong’s freshman and sophomore seasons showing major progressions.
Truong joins sixth-year senior Cierra Walker as the only returning players that averaged over 20 minutes per game. She started nearly every game last year, averaging 7.8 points and 4.1 assists. Her sophomore year required a lot of facilitating and trying to provide a complimentary outlet for Jill Townshend and Jenn Wirth.
It will be fun to see how the Houston native’s game takes another step now that she’ll be asked to score and create more. A couple years of initiating looks for two Conference Player of the Year winners in Townshend and Wirth will pay off as the Zags look for players like sophomore Yvonne Ejim and senior Melody Kempton to take on bigger responsibilities.
Truong’s aggressive style and fun-loving approach will be a real treat to see in her third year. She showed major advancement in taking care of the basketball and limiting her turnovers last season. She may need to make bigger swings without the aforementioned steadiness of Townshend and Wirth.
If Truong can perhaps improve her three point shooting, the Zags guard play could be dynamic. She shot a respectable 34% last year, but could unlock a lot of opportunities if she could return to her 37% average from her freshman year. The Zags will likely need to work from the outside to begin the year.
While the 5-9 guard may not have the same safety net in teammates that she was blessed with in her underclass years, it will no doubt be fun to see Truong operate with the diverse styles of Ejim, Kempton, Walker and freshman Bree Salenbien. The Zags will need to work at a quicker pace and could rely on the speed and drive ability of their wings.
Ultimately, the Zags will go as far as their backcourt takes them. Lucky for the Kennel faithful, Truong has been set up for success.