Yvonne Ejim was one of Gonzaga’s brightest lights this season. There were high hopes and high expectations for Ejim entering the year. She managed to exceed them.
Ejim came on last season as a sophomore and produced just a tick over 10 ppg while coming off the bench, but she took a massive step forward in becoming a star over the recently-completed campaign as a full time starter. Ejim averaged 16.7 ppg and 8.3 rpg despite being the focal point of opposing teams’ game plans as a junior. Her tenacity was impressive, and it will be exciting to see what she does for an encore next year, or scary if you are another WCC team.
The feel and understanding of the game that Ejim demonstrated in her expanded role over the course of the season belied her years. It was obvious that her teammates and coaching staff trusted her completely to regularly make the right decision. That she managed to keep her turnover numbers flat from her sophomore to her junior season despite the big increase in minutes and usage is a testament to her talent.
There are definitely still areas that Ejim can add to her game to help her become a multi-dimensional threat. After not making a single 3-pointer in her freshman and sophomore years combined, she kept opposing defenses honest with a 5-16 conversion rate from range last year. Those are small numbers, to be sure, but is a step in the right direction and almost certainly a skill that she will be focusing on during the offseason which will make her even more difficult to defend next year.
With Gonzaga returning its seniors for one last hurrah thanks to their COVID-bonus year, the women’s team will experience uncommon stability entering the new season. That will only be a bonus for Ejim and the Zags, as the growth she showed this season can be sustained with lots of familiar faces at her side next season. The 2023-24 campaign should be a good one.