Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

2023-24 Team Preview: GCU Women’s Basketball

In the three seasons Molly Miller has been in Phoenix at GCU, the Lopes have been so close yet so far from their goal of being WAC tournament champs. They’ve had solid squads and fantastic seasons but have come up just short each year. Last season saw a semifinals loss to the seemingly unstoppable Thunderbirds of Southern Utah, who ended up beating CBU in the championship game. 

This off-season saw the departure of a lot, and I mean A LOT, of players from their ‘22-’23 roster. Only one of the five true freshmen on last year’s squad stayed in the purple and white. Eight different players either transferred out or graduated. Despite the many new faces on this year’s team, Miller did what she always does and brought in some amazing talent via the portal. This includes two players from WAC rivals and one from the PAC-12. As per usual, the Lopes have a very high ceiling this year. 

Olivia Lane is a big post presence for the GCU women’s basketball team. Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

Head Coach:

Molly Miller (4th Season)

At GCU:

61-27

2022-2023 Season Record:

21-10 OVR | 12-6 WAC

Post Season:

Lost to SUU in WAC Tourney Semi-Finals

Departures:

  • Ellie Buzzelle – Transfer to Eastern Illinois
  • Aaliyah Collins – Transfer to High Point
  • Alaina Harper – Transfer to Purdue
  • Emma Krueger – No Longer on Roster
  • Maisa Marcal – Grad Transfer
  • Laila McLeod – Transfer to Denver
  • Dom Phillips – Grad Transfer to Kansas City
  • Evan Zars – Graduated

Newcomers:

  • Callie Cooper 5-6, So., Transfer (UC Santa Barbara)
  • Laura Erikstrup 6-2, Sr., Grad Transfer (San Diego)
  • Sydney Erikstrup 6-1, Sr., Grad Transfer (Arizona State)
  • Shay Fano 6-0, Gr., Grad Transfer (Utah Valley)
  • Jada Holland 5-6, 5th, Transfer (San Jose State)
  • Kristyna Jeskeova 6-2, Sr., Grad Transfer (Long Beach State)
  • Anna Ostile 5-8, Sr., Transfer (Boise State)
  • Trinity San Antonio 5-10, Jr., Transfer (California Baptist)

Key Returners:

  • Tiarra Brown 5-9, Sr., G/F
  • Naudia Evans 5-6, Jr., G
  • Olivia Lane 6-2, Sr., F
  • Sydney Palma 5-8, Gr., G

Projected Starting Lineup:

  • G – Naudia Evans
  • G – Trinity San Antonio
  • G – Tiarra Brown
  • F – Shay Fano
  • F – Olivia Lane

Once again, GCU has put together a roster that makes them contenders to win it all this year. This starting five is absolutely one of the most, if not the most, talented groups in the conference. On top of that, this team still has Sydney Palma, the Erikstrup sisters, and other experienced players coming off the bench. 

Naudia Evans will be the floor leader for the GCU Lopes in 2023-24. Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

Outlook:

This is potentially the best roster GCU has ever put together, which is truly saying something. I might be biased, but they’re my favorite to not only win the regular season but also take home their first WAC Championship title. One thing’s for certain though: this team is going to be hard to beat. 

Areas of Improvement: 

Fundamentals were often lacking for this team a year ago. GCU was dead last in the conference in free throw percentage for virtually the entire season. There were also a ton of missed layups, many of which were wide open. These are free points that teams at this level absolutely must capitalize on. In a conference with so many teams that can beat anyone on any given night, these missed shots can, and did, result in losses that may have otherwise been wins or games that were closer than necessary. They need to clean that up this season if they want to finally get over the hump. 

The elephant in the room with this team, however, is chemistry. With so many new faces, there’s a lot that can go wrong for them this season. It’s also worth noting that there are no true freshmen on this team, which could mean chemistry may be an issue for years to come. But for this season, we definitely may see some growing pains early on. If they can get through it and gel together quickly, this team is bound to be dangerous on both ends of the floor. 

About the author

Chelsea Mendelson

On-Air Talent and Producer with GCUTV. Former basketball player and current basketball fan. Proud to be a woman in sports.

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