This season it was time for Kayleigh Truong to bring her game to another level. With so much scoring and minutes exiting between Jill Townsend and the Wirth sisters, the big question for the Zags was how some of the younger, experienced players would step up as leaders.
Truong responded as well as you could hope for a junior point guard with expanded responsibilities. She went from the facilitator and an auxiliary scoring threat to a dynamic primary scorer while still maintaining lead guard roles. Truong averaged 11.2 points and 3.8 assists per game. Those 11.2 points were the highest for the team, moving her from the fourth scoring option to first.
The growth of her sister Kaylynne helped relieve Truong of some of her distribution duties and helped ensure two high-efficiency perimeter shooters would be on the floor at all times. Kayleigh Truong still had the highest assist rate on the team at 33%.
While her passing statistics took a dip, Truong’s shooting numbers blossomed in her increased role. She averaged 1.3 three-pointers made this season on a respectable 34.8%. In a season where her scoring went up four points per contest, she nailed her 2-pointers at a higher clip as well shooting 49.7% — a phenomenal number for a guard.
Her ruthlessness in attacking the basket not only ballooned her scoring average but unlocked her game as someone who could scoop extra point opportunities at the free throw line. She had the highest free throw rate of major minutes players, attempting over three shots per contest. Her 83% free throw rate made her incredibly valuable as a points per possession player at .9 (82nd percentile in college basketball according to Her Hoops).
The season did not come without its difficulties. Namely, a knee injury that limited her role in the back half of non-conference play and hindered her a bit in the early part of WCC action. The limited role helped her sister gain confidence and the aforementioned new role as an additional primary ballhandler, allowing Gonzaga’s offense and options to expand as a two-guard lineup. That additional ballhandling help may be a major contributing factor to Kayleigh’s increased scoring figures as well.
Truong returned to higher facilitation in conference play, averaging 4.2 assists and the third-highest assist rate in the conference while still scoring 10.6 points per game. The offensive output earned her All-WCC First Team honors on her way to helping secure an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
And that tournament showed the guard’s potential as a scorer. Truong absolutely torched Nebraska in the first round. She scored 20 points with 5 rebounds and 4 assists in a 68-55 win. She drilled two of her five three-point attempts but diced the Huskers up at the basket for 12 points on 60% shooting.
Truong added another 14 points in the loss to the 1 seeded Louisville Cardinals where she was able to score at will inside the arc but could not convert on her three-point attempts. It encapsulated her season as a legit primary weapon. It will be interesting how Fortier reshuffles the offense with Abby O’Connor, Cierra Walker and Melody Kempton’s graduation. The Zags recently added Utah transfer Brynna Maxwell into the fold, which should help. But we could be seeing the Truong sisters expand further on their new roles in the upcoming season.