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Thread: 2021-2022 Player Previews from The Slipper Still Fits

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    From the Slipper Still Fits.

    First out of the Gate is Cierra Walker
    Expect big things from the steady hand of the sixth year senior
    By TuckClarry
    Sep 14, 2021

    Link: https://www.slipperstillfits.com/202...-cierra-walker

    ZagDad

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    From the Slipper Still Fits.

    Next up is Kayleigh Truong
    Big things will be asked of the junior floor general
    By TuckClarry Sep 16, 2021

    Link: https://www.slipperstillfits.com/202...ayleigh-truong

    ZagDad

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    From the Slipper Still Fits.

    Come on Down Yvonne Ejim
    Now is the time for the next great Zag
    By TuckClarry Sep 18, 2021

    Link: https://www.slipperstillfits.com/202...ew-yvonne-ejim

    ZagDad

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    From the Slipper Still Fits.

    From way down under, its Eliza Hollingsworth
    Opportunity has come knocking for the Aussie forward.
    By Keith Ybanez @slipperyky Sep 20, 2021

    Link: https://www.slipperstillfits.com/202...-hollingsworth

    ZagDad

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    From the Slipper Still Fits.

    From last year's WCC 6th Player of the Year to Starter, next up is Melody Kempton
    It’s time for the 6th Woman of the Year to get her shine
    By TuckClarry Sep 22, 2021

    Link: https://www.slipperstillfits.com/202...melody-kempton

    ZagDad

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    From the Slipper Still Fits.

    Next at bat is GU's highest ever rated recruit, Bree Salenbien.
    The freshman wing has the potential to keep Gonzaga fighting at the top of the WCC and playing in March.
    By TuckClarry, Sep 26, 2021

    Link: https://www.slipperstillfits.com/202...bree-salenbien

    ZagDad

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    From the Slipper Still Fits.

    From first lady off the bench to potential starter, is Abby O'Conner.
    The senior wing is taking advantage of an extra year of eligibility to give Gonzaga much needed leadership and versatility on the wing.
    By Keith Ybanez @slipperyky Sep 26, 2021

    Link: https://www.slipperstillfits.com/202...w-abby-oconnor

    ZagDad

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    Unless she has, in the off season, vastly improved her ability to get to the rim & score, and/or manages 40% on shots beyond the arc, AO will neither be a starter nor first off the bench. She'll be third or fourth off the bench with playing time reduced from last year. Yvonne, Bree, Melody and, likely, Eliza, will take most of her minutes. Harsh, but true.

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    Going to have to disagree Up,,,,

    Last year AOC was in a transition year…. not only in schools, but position. From a post to a wing, AOC like many small HS posts, needed to learn the wing position…. And I don’t think CLP would have brought her in if she didn’t think she could do it. I remember AOC saying that she was getting a lot of help from JT.

    Senior year is a different animal…. And how players handle it. CLF, and I agree, likes seniors. I see AOC starting but depending on how quickly BS adapts to D1 ball may cut into her playing time.

    This team will go small and fast at times and big others. Look at the twins in at the same time leading a run and gun.

    Getting close… get your vax cards ready and a red mask….

    Go Zags!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by upan8th View Post
    Unless she has, in the off season, vastly improved her ability to get to the rim & score, and/or manages 40% on shots beyond the arc, AO will neither be a starter nor first off the bench. She'll be third or fourth off the bench with playing time reduced from last year. Yvonne, Bree, Melody and, likely, Eliza, will take most of her minutes. Harsh, but true.
    Finally, somebody to talk to.

    I agree, based on shown ability, with your assessment of AO.

    Howeva!!!!!

    We all know how CLF feels about starting her seniors and AO already started one game last year when JT was hurt. I would not be surprised at all to see AO in the starting lineup given CLF's past history.

    We may be a little hard on AO based on what we saw last year. She was not expected to play last year and only got her waiver approved on December 6. She was on an entirely new team, playing an entirely new position (#3) as opposed to what she was accustomed to playing (#4). We tend to forget the player that AO was at Loyola of Chicago.

    AO led Loyola Chicago in scoring, rebounding and blocks each of the last two seasons…collected four All-Missouri Valley accolades in three seasons, earning First Team All-MVC and All-Defensive honors in 2018-19, honorable mention in 2019-20 in addition to being selected to the MVC All-Freshman team in 2017-18… She became the 25th player in Rambler history to surpass 1,000 career points in February 2020, finishing the season with 1,124 career points…one of two players in Rambler history to have 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 100 career blocks (in 3 years). The Missouri Valley Conference is no pushover, and is very comparable or better than the WCC. Let's see how AO in her first 3 years stacks up with JT over her last 3 years:

    AO = 32.6 Mpg, 12.5 Ppg (40.6%), Made 3s = 115 (34.5%), Made FTs = 179 (85.6%), 7.0 Rpg, 1.5 Apg, 1.2 Bpg, 0.74 Spg, 1.86 Turnovers/Game
    JT = 25.9 Mpg, 11.7 Ppg (50.2%), Made 3s = 93 (41.0%), Made FTs = 163 (80.7%), 5.1 Rpg, 1.6 Apg, 0.2 Bpg, 1.15 Spg, 1.43 Turnovers/Game

    Hmmmm, not nearly as different as you would have expected based on what we saw last year. Yes, AO played a different position at Loyola (#4) than she is playing at Gonzaga (#3). I compared JT's last 3 years to AO's first 3 years. If I compared JT's first 3 years to AO's first three years, AO has it all over JT. I would fully expect AO, given a year in the system and at a new position to play much better than she did last year.

    The big question is can AO get comfortable at the #3 where it takes much more ball handling, drive to the hoop and 3-point shooting than is required by the #4 position she played at Loyola-Chicago?

    I agree that AO may not get significant minutes, but I don't think most of the people you listed will take minutes away from her. While AO played the #4 when she played at Loyola-Chicago, she has played the #3 almost exclusively at Gonzaga. As long as CLF keeps AO at the #3, most of the people you listed play the 4-5 and likely will not take away minutes from AO and many of them have a major shortcoming with playing the 3.

    - MK - A tenacious rebounder has shown little to no outside shot at all and has shown little interest in driving to the basket. Her offense to this point has essentially been put-backs on rebounds.
    - YE - has shown great improvement in her offensive game over the last year. What has not been shown is the ability to hit the 3-point shot, very important in playing the wing.
    - EH - With a limited sample size, EH has shown the ability to rebound and hit the 3-point shot. Ball handling and drive to the hoop has not yet been shown.
    - BS - Only have HS and AAU videos, but BS could be the answer at wing if CLF will give the freshman the PT. Can she handle the physicality and recognize the defensive schemes of D-1?

    If you are looking at players that are more likely to take time away from AO, I would look at ball handlers and 3-point shooters who can play the wing.

    - None. AO becomes the player she was at Loyola-Chicago and maintains starter minutes.
    - CW (moving over from the #2) assuming K-14 would move over to the #2 with PM and CS as backups at the #1 and #2.
    - MW but we have not seen her handle the ball and she has only made 1 shot, but it was a 3.
    - KG been injured her entire GU career. She as known as a shooter who could finish at the hoop in HS. Is she going to play, can she stay healthy and translate those skills to D-1?
    - EL Despite your objections to the English league, we know EL can shoot, she can dribble and she can rebound. Could she be an improvement to AO?
    - CS I personally have not seen Callie in action, but others say she finishes strong at the hoop. Can she translate her skills to D-1.

    AO played very tentatively last year trying to understand an entirely new position she never played before. Being a senior and with a year under CLF's system, can she bring the positive, aggressive attitude that allowed her to be very successful in the Missouri Valley Conference to the 2021-2022 Lady Zag team?

    I personally think that AO cannot handle the ball effectively to be a true wing. Time will tell. She has shown the ability to shoot (although not as effectively as JT) and rebound even better than JT. In times where CLF wants 3 ball handlers on the floor, I think we will see CW move to the #3. I am hopeful that BS will get some PT on the wing, but I have a suspicion that CLF will play BS at the #4 and not the #3.

    So what do you think Lady Zag fans?

    - Is AO going to develop into a valuable player at the wing?
    - IF AO is not going to play starters minutes, who do you think is going to take minutes away from her?

    Only 3 weeks to FanFest.

    ZagDad

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    While we talk about the wing and who is going to start and come off the bench, you suddenly realize we are loaded at the 3.

    With 15 players on this years roster, like last year, getting time on the court is going to be tough. And unlike the men’s team, all 15 this year are scholarship players with a history of starting and getting a lot of playing time. I hope things work out…. Like them all.
    That’s why I think we can go long as well as fast…. We have the numbers to go hard then sub and continue to go hard.

    As for AOC… each year I have to believe the players are sent home with homework. We have seen players come back stronger and improved in their skills…. And I think we may see that in Abby.

    Good talk….

    Go Zags!!

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    Re-considering, my post was speculative at best. Abby should be, and as a senior, hopefully will be, given every chance to garner major minutes & become a key contributor. Guess I was trying to light a fire under her, because I know she's capable of achieving so much more than she showed last season. We'll need quantum steps up from her, from the Troungs, from Eliza, Melody, and some of the Freshmen competing for starting jobs, to remain atop an improved WCC.

    So, Abby, ignore this old goat naysayer & Go Gettum, Girl!

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    Quote Originally Posted by upan8th View Post
    Re-considering, my post was speculative at best. Abby should be, and as a senior, hopefully will be, given every chance to garner major minutes & become a key contributor. Guess I was trying to light a fire under her, because I know she's capable of achieving so much more than she showed last season. We'll need quantum steps up from her, from the Troungs, from Eliza, Melody, and some of the Freshmen competing for starting jobs, to remain atop an improved WCC.

    So, Abby, ignore this old goat naysayer & Go Gettum, Girl!
    Welcome to the Dark Side UP.

    ZagDad

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    From the Slipper Still Fits:

    Next up Kylee Griffen.
    After a third season sitting out, Griffen looks to make an impact on a new-look squad
    By TuckClarry Sep 28, 2021

    Link: https://www.slipperstillfits.com/202...-kylee-griffen

    Still don't understand why the Lady Zags have her listed as a Senior. Kylee red-shirted her freshman year, so that would make her a Junior this year not a senior. If she applied for a medical red-shirt for either her 2nd year or 3rd year, she could be classified as young as a Sophomore. Hmmmmmmm.

    ZagDad

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    In Kylee’s bio it shows that she redshirted her freshman year and the next year was a redshirt freshman. Last year was not mentioned.

    There has to be a reason…. One that we may never know… or they made a mistake.

    Either way I hope she has a complete healthy year.
    I remember seeing a few clips of her playing in practice… looked quick to the basket.

    If Kylee can stay healthy, I see her being part of the rotation. She has been part of the team for three years…

    Go Zags!!

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    From the Slipper Still Fits.

    Finishing up the twins, next up is Kaylynne Truong
    By Keith Ybanez@slipperyky
    Oct 2, 2021

    Link: https://www.slipperstillfits.com/202...aylynne-truong

    ZagDad

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    From the Slipper Still Fits.

    Next batter (shooter) up, Freshman from So-Cal, Callie Stokes.
    The talented athlete from SoCal helps bolster the Zags’ front line.
    By Peter Woodburn@wernies Oct 4, 2021

    Link: https://www.slipperstillfits.com/202...w-calli-stokes

    ZagDad

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    If not for an injury-plagued junior year, Callie would have been on the radar for a slew of top-rated programs on the West coast. She's a talented, multi-sport athlete from a Big Pond, having competed and succeeded against dozens of highly recruited opponents. Judging from her videos, she's got that certain, high-level, athlete's innate sense of how to play the game. Bree has it as well. It's called court awareness, court vision, or, sometimes, in-game savvy. She knows what to do, when to do it, and then does it effectively, whether handling the ball, taking the shot, making the right pass, or taking a charge. Likely comes from her softball experience: Aware of the game situation, she knows exactly what she'll do with the ball after she fields it, even before it's hit. Unfortunately, too many players on last year's team lacked the in-game spontaneity to adjust on the fly & successfully finish a play.

    The Slipper Fits scribe, believing Callie will probably get limited minutes this season behind others at the wing, isn't crediting her chops. I believe--we shall see--that she'll show the coaching staff early on what she has to offer & eventually play her way into a top eight positions in the rotation, even, perhaps, as a guard. A sage once said: "Can't tell you exactly what it is, but I know it when I see it & she's got it."

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    Quote Originally Posted by upan8th View Post
    The Slipper Fits scribe, believing Callie will probably get limited minutes this season behind others at the wing, isn't crediting her chops. I believe--we shall see--that she'll show the coaching staff early on what she has to offer & eventually play her way into a top eight positions in the rotation, even, perhaps, as a guard. A sage once said: "Can't tell you exactly what it is, but I know it when I see it & she's got it."
    My concern with CS's playing time has little to do with her skills but more about CLF's reluctance to play freshman. CLF's history is that freshman are usually relegated to mop up duty unless injury to the starters requires the use of the freshman. Hopefully BS, CS and EL will get the minutes they deserve based on their skill set. We will see, but I am not holding my breath.

    In looking at her high school numbers, it certainly appears that if she can translate her HS and AAU skills to D-1 level, she could be an immediate plug in for the departed JT.

    Only a 1-1/2 weeks to FanFest and a month to the exhibition game.

    Getting Excited.

    ZagDad

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    Quoting from another poster, as Larry Bird apparently said: "The best players gonna play." Assume either Claire or Craig is familiar with that undeniable truth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by upan8th View Post
    The Slipper Fits scribe, believing Callie will probably get limited minutes this season behind others at the wing, isn't crediting her chops. I believe--we shall see--that she'll show the coaching staff early on what she has to offer & eventually play her way into a top eight positions in the rotation, even, perhaps, as a guard. A sage once said: "Can't tell you exactly what it is, but I know it when I see it & she's got it."
    Guard play - we have little guards, not overly athletic, with average foot speed at best... it would be nice to have a surprise addition to the backcourt... I have the feeling it will be a long season for the backcourt unless there are a few surprises...

    Just my opinion...

    Go!! Las Zagas!!!
    "Learn from the past, Plan for the future, Live in the Now!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigblahla View Post
    Guard play - we have little guards, not overly athletic, with average foot speed at best... it would be nice to have a surprise addition to the backcourt... I have the feeling it will be a long season for the backcourt unless there are a few surprises...
    You have made it very clear that you favor long, tall guards with quick feet, which we certainly do not have and have not had in a number of years. The last "guard" that we had that was at least 6'-0", was Lindsay Sherbert (6'-0"). We have had several very quick guards in the past (Keani Albanez) but all were well under 6'0". We have had some taller "wings" in more recent years with Elle Tinkle (6'2") and Chandler Smith (6'0") but even last year Jill Townsend played the wing was only 5'11".

    Not quite so sure on why all of the doom and gloom with the guards as we have the same starting guards (and first guard off the bench) that we had last year when the team went in 23-4 overall, 16-1 in conference, won the conference championship, won the conference tournament and finished the season rated in the Top-25. If we achieve that same level of performance this year, I think the majority of the fans would be more than happy. If we don't achieve that level of performance this year, I don't think the lack of height and lack of foot speed in our guards will be the determining factor.

    IMO I think how far the Lady Zags go this year will be determined on how well the new senior (or upperclassman) leadership develops, how the front court (wings and forwards) comes together and how the highly rated freshman integrate into D-1.

    IMO the guards will be the least of the Lady Zags worries.

    We will see.

    ZagDad

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    From the Slipper Still Fits.

    From the International Ranks comes Maud Hujibens.
    The Dutch forward transfers in from Syracuse.
    By Peter Woodburn@wernies Oct 6, 2021

    Link: https://www.slipperstillfits.com/202...-maud-hujibens

    ZagDad

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    From the Slipper Still Fits:

    Coming from across the pond, is Esther Little from England
    The Briton represents a versatile addition to Lisa Fortier’s squad.
    By Keith Ybanez@slipperyky Oct 8, 2021

    Little, a 6’2” wing, was tasked with doing a little of everything for her teams in England, averaging 15.5 ppg, 19.5 rpg, and 6.8 last season for Ipswich Basketball Academy...

    Link: https://www.slipperstillfits.com/202...-esther-little

    The big questions is can Esther translate her HS and International experience and skills to the NCAA D-1 ranks? If so, she would bring some added height and tremendous rebounding to the wing position.

    ZagDad

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZagDad84 View Post
    You have made it very clear that you favor long, tall guards with quick feet, which we certainly do not have and have not had in a number of years. The last "guard" that we had that was at least 6'-0", was Lindsay Sherbert (6'-0"). We have had several very quick guards in the past (Keani Albanez) but all were well under 6'0". We have had some taller "wings" in more recent years with Elle Tinkle (6'2") and Chandler Smith (6'0") but even last year Jill Townsend played the wing was only 5'11".

    Not quite so sure on why all of the doom and gloom with the guards as we have the same starting guards (and first guard off the bench) that we had last year when the team went in 23-4 overall, 16-1 in conference, won the conference championship, won the conference tournament and finished the season rated in the Top-25. If we achieve that same level of performance this year, I think the majority of the fans would be more than happy. If we don't achieve that level of performance this year, I don't think the lack of height and lack of foot speed in our guards will be the determining factor.

    IMO I think how far the Lady Zags go this year will be determined on how well the new senior (or upperclassman) leadership develops, how the front court (wings and forwards) comes together and how the highly rated freshman integrate into D-1.

    IMO the guards will be the least of the Lady Zags worries.

    We will see.

    ZagDad
    Quick and fast can offset height... there are 4 good sized guards on the roster 5'11", 6'1" and 2 at 6'2"... two or three will see PT, lots of variables as to how much though...

    Just my opinion...

    Go!! Las Zagas!!!
    "Learn from the past, Plan for the future, Live in the Now!"

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