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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Gonzaga women’s basketball team set to entertain fans virtually

Gonzaga University women’s basketball coach Lisa Fortier address the crowd at Fan Fest, Saturday, October 12, 2019, at the McCarthey Athletic Center.  (DAN PELLE)

What’s a Fan Fest without the fans?

The Gonzaga women are about to find out.

On Tuesday night, the Zags will be back on the court at the McCarthey Athletic Center. It will be the closest thing to a game since the season was abruptly ended in March by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because of safety protocols and a pandemic that appears to be getting worse, fans will get no closer than their television sets.

The event will be broadcast live on SWX beginning at 6 p.m.

There will be plenty of action in the form of a scrimmage – a pair of 8-minute quarters that will offer the first hints of how the Zags will look this year.

The most intriguing storyline is the GU backcourt, which lost Katie Campbell and Jessie Loera to graduation.

There’s plenty of talent on board, but Tuesday’s scrimmage will offer the first clues on how the pieces will fit together.

Now a sophomore, Kayleigh Truong stepped in when Campbell – a shooting guard – was lost to injury. However, Truong may move to the point while Cierra Walker, a graduate transfer from Vanderbilt, plays off-guard.

Then again, Kaylynne Truong is versatile enough to play both spots.

There will be few surprises in the frontcourt, which should be among the best on the West Coast with Jenn and LeeAnne Wirth starting at forward.

Jill Townsend, the reigning West Coast Conference player of the year, is back at the wing.

More help is on the way. Asked to pick her candidates for most impactful freshmen, coach Lisa Fortier recently named Yvonne Ejim, a 6-1 forward from Edmonton, Alberta, and Makayla Williams, who’s also 6-1 but listed as a guard.

Williams, a four-star recruit from Los Angeles, was rated ninth among all high school wings last year by ESPN. Her role on the team figures to be one of the most interesting story lines of camp.

GU is coming off one of the best seasons in program history, finishing 28-3 and projected to host first- and second-round NCAA Tournament games before the event was canceled due to COVID-19.

The Zags open the WCC portion of their schedule on Dec. 28; their first scheduled home game is Jan. 2 against Saint Mary’s.

So far, the only sure thing on the nonconference schedule is on Nov. 28-30, when the Zags play in the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic in Sioux Falls, S.D. GU will face Oklahoma, South Dakota and unofficial preseason No. 1 South Carolina.