With a new season around the corner, it’s important to get reacquainted with familiar faces, and learn who is being added to the puzzle.
The ladies will field a backcourt filled with veterans who have plenty of playing experience, as well as newcomers looking to make a mark of their own. Last season the Jordan Mathews version of the women's team was transfer Makenlee Williams.
Due to a confusing transfer situation she only played one season with the Zags but made the most of her opportunity becoming a sixth man of sorts and served as the marksman of the team.
Starts at the three spot last year went to Elle Tinkle, a gigantic mismatch on the wings being that she was 6'2 herself. Also departing from last year's team was sharpshooter Zhane Templeton, whose playing time was shortened due to defensive deficiencies. This off-season she transferred to UT-Arlington, to be closer to her home in Texas. Despite the losses, the Zags will more than recover with some highly regarded pieces.
The starting three guard spots seem to be set in stone. Junior Laura Stockton will handle duties at the point guard position, Senior Emma Stach at the two spot, and Junior Chandler Smith starting at the three spot. This backcourt lineup is more of a 3-and-D type with all three being good defenders. The lineup should also help the bigs down low in regards to spacing and exploiting potential double teams on Jill Barta.
With Barta and Stockton the only returning players who've taken substantial shots in the past, Stach and Smith will have plenty of chances to improve their ppg from last year (5.8 ppg and 4.7 ppg respectively).
One flaw to look for with this trio on the court is that in general they don't really drive to the basket too often and could tip off opposing defenses into playing a zone against them. All in all this lineup could be the best defensive guard lineup the WCC has to offer this season.
There are eight guards on the roster for three positions, but opportunities abound with a whole new cast off the bench. Sophomore point guard Jessie Loera was a valuable asset off the bench coming in for Stockton in case of fatigue and foul trouble. She was a respectable threat from three shooting 32% and played better than expected defense despite her small stature.
Another sophomore, Katie Campbell, is immediately eligible coming from junior college with a reputation of scoring; and, Corryn Douglass will also look to make an impact after not playing last season.
The two players with the highest ceilings are Louise Forsyth and Jill Townsend, both EspnW top 100 recruits at 49 and 96 respectively and could be stars in the making. Both are highly regarded freshmen who can play any position in the backcourt and will certainly push for plenty of minutes in the near future.
The key for this group will be development. While Jill Barta will certainly do her part on the frontline, scoring and defensive balance from both the frontcourt and backcourt will boost the prospects for this team going forward.