There is never a thing as too much hustle on a basketball court, and one needs no further proof than looking at Calli Stokes’ play this season for the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
The redshirt freshman appeared in 30 games for the Zags and carved out a spot in the rotation by hurling her body all over the court. The result was a player who did the dirty work—hard fouls, hard rebounds, but props all around for the effort displayed.
It is something to build off of for Stokes as well. The forward was never going to come in and need to be an impact scorer. She sat behind Yvonne Ejim and Eliza Hollingsworth on the depth chart, two scorers whose game compliment each other rather nicely.
Both her defensive rebounding percentage and total rebounding percentage were the second-best on the squad (behind Ejim). With a usage rate that was lower than her 18.4 minutes per game would suggest, Stokes was your standard Glue Gal, something all the good teams need and require.
It is a dogged pursuit to build off of as well. Stokes tended to be a little foul happy. Diving after loose balls tend to result in a few whistles, after all. So if she is able to tidy up that end of the game, it should help her remain on the court a bit longer at times.
Overall, for next year, we shouldn’t expect too much different for Stokes. She will still have Ejim and Hollingsworth ahead of her in the depth chart, and with Huijbens returning to full strength, if anything, it might mean a slight decrease in minutes.
Such is the college life, however. Stokes showed she can make an impact on both sides of the ball in her first year, which is about all one can ask for. The 2022-23 season was a solid baseline to start from and it will be interesting to watch her grow from here on out.