Tiarra Brown and GCU are loaded in 2023-24 but will it equate to a first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament? Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

Can GCU Women’s Basketball Get Over the Hump?

GCU fans know all too well what it is like to fall just short of winning a WAC title. In the first two seasons of eligibility for the WAC Tournament, the GCU men made it to the championship game. Unfortunately for Lopes fans, New Mexico State was waiting both times.

It might have been three times had the 2020 WAC Tournament not been cancelled due to Covid.

However, a head coaching change was the trick for the GCU men. In his first season, Bryce Drew led the Lopes to a share of the WAC regular season crown, a WAC Tournament title, and that elusive trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Now, the Lopes have gone to the NCAA Tournament twice in three years.

So, what will the GCU women do? In Molly Miller’s first year, the Lopes came up short in the WAC title game against CBU. If you remember, the Lancers were ineligible for the NCAA Tournament. And despite beating Utah Valley in the WAC semifinals, GCU did not represent the WAC at the NCAA Tournament.

Prior to the season beginning, the WAC voted to allow transition schools to compete at the WAC Tournament. As part of the agreement, the team who finished highest in the WAC standings would represent the WAC at the NCAA Tourney if a transition team won the WAC Tournament.

Well, Utah Valley finished 10-4 in WAC play in 2020-21 to finish in second place in the standings. GCU was 8-4 and finished third. However, GCU did not play two conference games against Chicago State due to Covid. Thus, the difference in the records.

It is safe to say in her post game press conference after the WAC title game, Molly Miller was not happy.

Can Molly Miller lead GCU over the top in 2023-24? Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

In 2021-22, the Lopes made it to their second straight WAC title game. Unfortunately, GCU ran into a really, REALLY good SFA squad. The Ladyjacks earned a second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament with a 74-57 win over the Lopes.

In 2022-23, the Lopes couldn’t find an offensive rhythm in the WAC semifinals against Southern Utah. The T-Birds, off an emotional win in the second round, ended the Lopes season with a 64-51 win at Orleans Arena.

Since taking over in 2020-21, Molly Miller has led the GCU women’s basketball program to 61 wins. The Lopes won a Division I era-best 22 games in 2021-22 and followed that up with 21 wins in 2022-23.

With a few key pieces added to the roster in 2023-24, can the GCU women get over the hump?

Miller and her staff added CBU transfer Trinity San Antonio as well as Utah Valley transfer Shay Fano. Laura and Sydney Erikstrup are now Lopes. Laura played at Portland last season while Sydney comes over from Arizona State.

Olivia Lane returns for a very deep GCU squad in 2023-24. Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

San Jose State transfer Jada Holland is part of a large influx of Division I transfer for the Lopes.

All these transfers join Tiarra Brown, Olivia Lane, Sydney Palma and Naudia Evans.

To put it mildly…the GCU women’s basketball team is LOADED in 2023-24.

Can this roster, full of experience and talent, put the Lopes over the top?

It should not surprise anyone if the GCU women, along with the GCU men, are picked to win the WAC in 2023-24.

Molly Miller has won nearly 85 percent of her games as a head coach.

With the depth of the WAC on the women’s side in 2023-24, that number may have to be even higher in order for the Lopes to go to the Promised Land.

About the author

Kyle McDonald

Love everything about WAC Hoops so decided I wanted to write more about it and cover this amazing conference that just keeps getting better. Follow us on Twitter @wachoopsdigest for information, game analysis and much more.

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