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2021-22 Player Review: Melody Kempton

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 18 Div I Womens Championship - First Round - Gonzaga at Nebraska Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Melody Kempton showed up and showed out in her senior campaign. After capably serving as a gritty and reliable forward off the bench for Gonzaga during her first three seasons, Kempton was elevated to the starting lineup this year and made herself indispensable as the engine that powered her squad.

As a senior, Kempton’s numbers improved across the board as Gonzaga leaned on her heavily to provide significant post production after the Wirth twins graduated. Kempton responded, scoring as many points this season (382) as she did during her sophomore and junior years combined while also increasing her rebounding average from 3.6 rpg to 6.2 rpg, more than doubling her assists per game average, and tallying 21 more steals and 23 more blocks than she did as a junior.

Kempton’s brand of basketball is a coach’s dream. She earned immense respect during her career for her willingness to contribute in any way possible and do the gritty and difficult work at both ends of the floor that don’t make highlight reels but lead to wins.

After biding her time, Kempton finally get her long-deserved shine as a senior leading the team in total scoring, field goal percentage, rebounds, while coming in third in assists and blocks. And, of course, she also delivered some big moments including the game winner on the road at USF in a crucial game that kept Gonzaga’s tournament hopes alive.

You may recall that Kempton arrived at Gonzaga as one of the most decorated basketball players in Idaho high school hoops history. Her Gonzaga career proved that those achievements were merited, as her career arc steadily climbed upwards with each season. Kempton was the first forward off the bench as a sophomore, and picked up the WCC Sixth Woman of the Year Award and All-WCC honorable mention as a junior before earning All-WCC First Team honors this season, punctuated by the 2021-22 WCC Tournament Most Outstanding Player during an excellent tournament performance that helped Gonzaga get off the bubble and punch a ticket to the dance with a big win over BYU.

Melody Kempton had a great college career, and was a great Zag.