The opening night of women’s college basketball has come and gone. And although not every team played on Monday night, enough did for us to debut “5 Takeaways”. This will be a column where we recap either the week or a night of big games across the WAC.
Let’s dive right in…
Player of the Night:
1 – Trinity San Antonio, So., G, CBU
*Had a career high 31 points with 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals in 33 minutes. Was the catalyst in the Lancers rallying from a 12-point third quarter deficit to defeat UCSD 84-76 in Riverside.
2 – Tomekia Whitman, Sr., G, Southern Utah
*The Thunderbirds opened their WAC tenure with a huge win against New Mexico in Cedar City. The Lobos were a WNIT participant last year who blew out runner up Grand Canyon in Phoenix. And Whitman was the catalyst with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 2 steals in 34 minutes of action.
1 – Breaunna Gillen, Sr, G, Utah Tech
*The Trailblazers went to Washington as clear underdogs. But Utah Tech gave the Huskies a run for the money in the 13-point loss. A big part of that was the stellar performance of Preseason First-Team All-WAC selection Breaunna Gillen. Gillen’s 21-point, 11-assist double-double jumps out of the box score. Gillen played all but four minutes on Monday night, showing how important she is to the coaching staff.
2 – Jireh Washington, Gr., G, UTA
*Another player with an 11-assist double-double, but this time in only 19 minutes played. Washington had 12 points and also had a couple of steals and rebounds to round out her performance that helped the Mavericks secure their convincing 49-point win over Texas Southern at home.
As much as I want to say CBU beating UCSD was the WAC’s best win on Monday, I have to go with Southern Utah defeating New Mexico at home. I said on the Straight Outta WAC opening night preview that the T-Birds would have to defend the three to be successful and they did just that, holding the Lobos to a 10-39 3-point shooting performance.
Give me CBU over UCSD. Trinity San Antonio put on an absolute clinic with her 31 points and 10 rebounds for the most impressive double-double from a guard that I’ve seen in a while. Not only that, but Colorado transfer Sila Finau had 15 points off the bench. As a whole, the team looked great and was clicking both offensively and defensively. The Lancers are an almost entirely new team this year. But after one game they look like they could be contenders by the end of the season.
Surprise Performer of the Night:
Kyla Deck, Fr., G, Stephen F. Austin
*Had 14 points and 4 rebounds in 32 minutes as the Ladyjacks survived an upset bid by UTSA. Deck knocked down four 3-pointers in the contest. It was a good way to start her career.
Laila McLeod, Fr., G, GCU
*The freshman put up 10 points in 20 minutes while shooting 50 percent from the field. She looked extremely confident, hitting four 3-pointers and making two of them. McLeod also had five rebounds, four steals, and three assists proving she is dangerous from just about every spot on the floor. She was one of my picks to be one of the best freshman of the year, and she proved me right in the Lopes’ season opener.
Number of the Night:
28…That’s how many free throws CBU hit in their 84-76 win over UCSD which is a division one era record.
I’m going with 30. GCU had 30 steals against Arizona Christian which is their D1 record. A historically defensive minded team, the Lopes once again showed they’re a force to be reckoned with on that side of the court. They also broke the D1 points record with 109 in a 58 point win over the Firestorm.
Questions Going Forward:
Stephen F. Austin got a pretty good opening night scare from a UTSA team that struggled last year before prevailing late in the fourth quarter. Opening night jitters or did the Ladyjacks show some vulnerability to the rest of the conference?
I, like many others, expected Trinity San Antonio to play well this season. But I don’t think any of us were expecting the performance that she gave us. Can she keep up this level of play? If so, she will 100 percent be a frontrunner for WAC Player of the Year.