Utah Tech
Breaunna Gillen is one of the leaders of a veteran and talented Utah Tech squad in 2023-24. Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

2023-24 Team Preview: Utah Tech Women’s Basketball

Utah Tech Women’s Basketball took a giant leap forward last season. Following a 10-19 season in just their second year at the Division I level, they earned a 19-12 mark last season and placed fifth in the regular season standings. After defeating UVU in the first round, they fell to CBU in the WAC tournament quarterfinals. 

Unlike many of their WAC rivals, the Trailblazers essentially kept their entire team together this offseason. There was only one transfer out of the program with four departures in total. Also, the only new players on this roster are freshmen. Despite this, they are certainly one of the top teams in the conference. Head coach JD Gustin had a lot to say about his team on a recent podcast episode. This is a very talented and deep squad looking to continue to take Utah Tech to new heights. 

Head Coach:

JD Gustin (8th Season)

At UTU:

227–205

2022-2023 Season Record:

19-12 Overall | 10-8 WAC

Post Season:

Lost to CBU in Quarterfinals of WAC Tourney

Emily Isaacson chose to return for one more year with Utah Tech. Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

Departures:

  • Talia Sireni – Graduated
  • Taylia Stimpson – Grad Transfer (Utah State)
  • Sa’de Turlington – No Longer on Roster
  • Brooke Vance – No Longer on Roster

Newcomers:

  • Kastyn Young         5-11  Freshman   Guard
  • Caitlynn Jordan       6-2    Freshman   Forward 
  • Calyn Dallas            6-1    Freshman  Guard 
  • Nicole Willardson   6-4    Freshman  Forward

No transfers into the program

With his incoming class for this season, Gustin and his staff definitely made sure to add size to help them compete down low with such post talent as Olivia Lane (GCU), Grace Schmidt (CBU), and Megan Jensen (SUU). Young averaged 26.5 PPG in Greece while hitting 11 three-pointers. 

Key Returners:

  • Breaunna Gillen 5-9, Fifth Year., G
  • Emily Isaacson 5-11, [R] Senior., F
  • Macie Warren 5-10, [R ]So., G
  • Maddie Warren 5-10, [R] So., G
  • Maggie McCord 5-8, Fifth Year, G

Projected Starting Lineup:

  • Breaunna Gillen
  • Macie Warren
  • Maddie Warren
  • Amber Kartchner
  • Emily Isaacson

This is practically the exact same team we saw last season but without the injuries. The Warren’s should be back from injury early on. Gillen and Isaacson are back. And they have multiple options for the fifth spot in the starting lineup. Expect great things from this squad this season. 

Outlook:

The Trailblazers are in a much different situation than most of the WAC, and that might just be the secret to success. For many of the teams in this conference, chemistry is going to be a big focus early on. However, since there aren’t many newcomers or departures, Utah Tech doesn’t have this issue.

JD Gustin’s squad returns four starters. Breaunna Gillen, Emily Isaacson, Amber Kartchner and Maggie McCord. And the crazy part is that one of these four returning starters may end up coming off the bench in 2023-24. With the return of the Warren sisters off knee injuries, Gustin’s squad is as deep as it has been since the move to Division I. Add in a pair of freshman who could have big roles in the paint, and you can see there is some excitement in St. George.

This means they can focus on other things on the court. Getting ahead of the competition in this way could absolutely result in more wins at the beginning of the season and going into WAC play.  

Areas of Improvement: 

Much like going into last season, the Trailblazers should definitely focus on improving their defense. Last year, they finished 10th in the conference when it comes to stopping their opponents from scoring. They also need an added focus in the rebounding category. The Trailblazers were out-rebounded by a margin of nearly four per game. Because of this, Utah Tech finished 7th in offensive rebounding and 12th in defensive.

This is where freshman forwards Caitlyn Jordan, Calyn Dallas and Nicole Willardson will earn their minutes. At 6’2, 6’1 and 6’4, this trio could be a game-changer for the Trailblazers. 

Considering they were one of the most successful teams in the conference offensively, rounding out their game on the other end of the floor would make this team incredibly difficult to beat. 

Amber Kartchner returns to Utah Tech after starting all 31 games in 2022-23. Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

Scheduling Tidbits: 

This is one of the best schedules JD Gustin has assembled since Utah Tech’s transition to Division I. It’ll feature a date with Mountain West Regular Season Champs UNLV in Las Vegas. They also face two high major opponents at Burns Arena in the Trailblazer Classic just before Christmas Break. Gustin and his staff worked their magic to get Oregon and Oklahoma State to come to St. George for the Classic. 

UTU will also travel to play Texas A&M Commerce, a team that reached the semifinals of the Southland Conference tournament. If the Trailblazers have a good amount of success in these games, expect them to have very little trouble in the WAC.

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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