Five players left the Gonzaga women’s basketball team this past season due to transfers and graduations: bigs Kara Kudron and Grace Collett, wing Elle Tinkle, and guards Makenlee Williams and Zhane Templeton. Over 25 ppg and 15 rpg will be lost and will need to be replaced to keep the Zags on top of the conference.
While some of that will be the returning players stepping into new roles, arguably one of the best recruiting classes ever for the Gonzaga women will also have chances to make a huge impact.
The Zags will bring in five new players, four being freshmen and the other a juco transfer. According to EspnW’s latest recruiting rankings, Gonzaga will have three top 100 players and another just on the outside. Here's a preview of what each new player will bring to the team:
Jill Townsend: EspnW #96 ranked recruit
A local area kid in Okanogan Washington, Townsend is a slashing guard who likes to drive and kick out for open shooters. Averaging over 24 ppg her senior season shows a immediate scoring potential off the bench that Coach Fortier can play at the three spot if needed. The most surprising aspect of this top 100 player is that she averaged nearly double digit rebounds, helping fill the void former wing player Elle Tinkle left.
Katie Campbell: Juco transfer
Although not a freshman, Campbell will be immediately eligible and looking to carve her place in the rotation. She showed scoring potential last year in juco with just under 19 ppg. Lisa Fortier does like to expand her rotation, but with the three starters basically set and Loera as Stockton's perceived main back up, it will be up to Katie to beat out a pair of highly touted recruits to get a main role off the bench this year.
Jenn Wirth: EspnW #88 ranked recruit
The first of the dynamic duo twins from Arizona, Jenn would be considered the more athletic and polished player of the two. At 6'3 and with a similar skill set, she'll fit quite well subbing in for Barta off the bench without a drastic drop off in talent. Shooting 40% from three the last couple of seasons sets up a stretch four combo with Laura Stockton that can prove deadly.
LeeAnne Wirth: 4 star forward
While not as much as a finished product as her sister, LeeAnne could be the next coming of Kudron with her defense capabilities. Averaging two blocks per game, she'll be counted on in key defensive situations and can produce on offense with long distance range as well. While these sisters may have distinguished roles in their freshmen campaign, both have star potential going forward.
Louise Forsyth: EspnW #49 ranked recruit
She could be the crown jewel of this great recruit class. A six foot guard with great scoring ability, Forsyth can shoot lights out from three and can rebound from the guard position. She already has silverware in elite competition by winning Gold in the FIBA Americas tournament in 2015. Forsyth could play the Zach Collins role of the blue chipper coming off the bench and will receive starters type minutes. Her ability to play all three guard spots will allow the coaching staff to use her versatility to their benefit. This player should be the one to keep an eye out for as an immediate impact player.