Former SFA forward Avery Brittingham is heading north to join UT Arlington for the 2023-24 season. Courtesy Western Athletic Conference

Lopes, T-Birds and Mavs Get Commits; More WBB Portal News

It’s been another busy offseason in the Western Athletic Conference with regards to player and coach movement in the transfer portal. Let’s open up the WAC Hoops Digest women’s basketball notebook and take a look at some of the most recent offseason news.

More Portal Movement

Here is a list of some of the most recent WAC women’s basketball players to enter the NCAA transfer portal through May 8th…

Lizzy Williamson 6-5, JR, C (Southern Utah)

Williamson has since committed to NC State. The WAC Defensive Player of the Year leaves a quite the opening in the paint for the defending champs.

Trinity San Antonio 5-10, SO, G (California Baptist University)

San Antonio is staying in the WAC, heading to Phoenix to join the Lopes. It is the third straight year Molly Miller has pulled a key player from another WAC school. San Antonio averaged 14.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in 2022-23 as a First Team All-WAC selection for the Lancers.

Taylia Stimpson 5-10 SR G (Utah Tech)

Stimpson averaged 6.1 points for a Utah Tech team that reached WAC tournament play in their first season eligible for the event.

Lopes at it again with a pair of intraconference transfers

GCU head coach Molly Miller has made a living in recruiting the WAC since she took over the Lopes program in 2020. She’s added Amara Graham, Aalyiah Collins and Sydney Palma over the last few years. In 2023, Shay Fano (Utah Valley) and Trinity San Antonio (CBU) join the Lopes.

While in Orem, Fano averaged 12.1 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting just under 30% from 3-point range for Utah Valley.

“Shay is a great addition to enhance the depth of our team,” Miller said in a university release. “She is a proven scorer and rebounder in the WAC and loves to compete. She is a threat in many ways when she is out on the court and is a strong presence inside. But can also play a finesse game from the perimeter while being a threat from three.”

Former CBU guard Trinity San Antonio is heading to GCU in 2023-23. Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

On Wednesday, May 11, Miller made it official that former CBU guard Trinity San Antonio will also transfer to GCU for her final two years of eligibility. While at CBU a year ago, San Antonio averaged 14.0 points and 5.8 rebounds while averaging just under four assists per game for a team that reached the WAC finals and won the CBI championship.

“Trinity is a player who is going to enhance our brand on both sides of the ball,” Miller said in a GCU release. “She is a system prototype, and her game is going to shine in our style of play. Being able to see her success in the league and knowing how she will thrive in the system made this a perfect fit. I can’t wait to plug her into the brand and watch her compete. That competitive tenaciousness is one of my favorite qualities about Trinity. Fans are going to love and appreciate how hard she goes and how much passion she plays the game with.”

On May 17, it was also announced that former Lope Jada Holland is returning to Phoenix after stints at UC Riverside and San Jose State.

Pair of former Lopes announce new homes

Wednesday, May 17 was a busy day as a pair of former GCU Lopes announced new homes after entering the transfer portal. Laila McLeod announced she was transferring to Denver (Summit League). Also announcing a new home was Alaina Harper, who returns to the Midwest, joining sister Caitlyn at Purdue.

Clark & Brittingham headed to UT Arlington

After news that Seattle did not elect to renew the contract of former women’s basketball coach Suzy Barcomb, last year’s leading scorer Taliyah Clark elected to enter the NCAA transfer portal. She wasn’t in the portal very long as the sophomore guard was picked up by UT Arlington in another intraconference transfer. Ironically enough, it was Clark who broke the hearts of Lady Mavs fans at Michelob Ultra arena in day one of the WAC tournament by scoring 23 points on 8-15 shooting as the Redhawks upset UT Arlington and put quite the scare into Grand Canyon two days later. Clark averaged 10.8 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting just under 30% from the 3-point line. This is a very nice addition for UT Arlington after Taleyah Jones elected to also enter the portal.

Former Seattle U guard Taliyah Clark is taking her talents to Texas to join UT Arlington. Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

It was also announced on May 17 that former SFA standout Avery Brittingham will be headed north to join the Lady Mavs, just days after entering the portal. Brittingham was part of two NCAA tournament appearances along with conference regular season and tournament titles in the WAC and Southland Conferences. Last year Brittingham averaged 10.5 PPG and 8.2 RPG as the Ladyjacks finished 2nd in the regular season standings, reached a WAC tournament semifinal and also won a game in the WNIT.

Scott moving onto Missouri State

When Mark Kellogg elected to take the job at West Virginia, a slew of Ladyjacks entered the portal. Zya Nugent and Jordan Harrison elected to follow Kellogg to Morgantown and the Big 12. It was recently announced that Angel Scott has committed to Missouri State (Missouri Valley Conference). Last season in Nacogdoches, Scott averaged 6.7 points and 2.4 rebounds while shooting 33.9 percent from 3-point range.

Thiam heading for San Francisco

Former Tarleton center Seynabou Thiam has recently committed to the University of San Francisco after spending two seasons in Stephenville. At 6-6, she’ll be counted on as a rim protector for a Dons program making progress up the WCC standings.

Brown makes the move to Cedar City

Jaeden Brown made quite the mark in her one season at Utah Valley, spearheading the Wolverines to an opening day upset of GCU in Orem with a 20-point and 20-rebound double double in her WAC debut. Brown played in just two more games before missing the rest of the season due to injury.

On Thursday, May 18, SUU announced that Brown will be making the move to Cedar City to join the defending champion Southern Utah. Brown joins Megan Jensen as Wolverines who have made the move to SUU over the last two years. This is quite the pickup for Tracy Sanders who needs to add some offensive firepower with Cherita Daugherty’s graduation.

Brock’s First Recruiting Class Unveiled

Bill Brock took over the Tarleton women’s basketball program right after his team at McLennan Junior College was eliminated in the NJCAA tournament. Brock has hit the ground running when it comes to recruiting. Here is a look at his first class to date in Stephenville…

Faith Acker is a 6-2 UIL All-State selection from Texas who scored more than 2,500 points in her high school career. She took Winnsboro High School to a UIL championship game as a junior and semifinal game as a senior.

Miannah Little is a 5-6 guard who’s following Brock from the JUCO level to the WAC. She averaged 12.9 points and 3.4 assist while making 30 starts and scoring in double digits 21 times a season ago.

At the end of Misty Wilson’s tenure, the Texans were making some inroads in international recruiting and that continues on Brock’s watch with the addition of 6-5 Andjela Bigovic from Montenegro. She was a 38.4% 3-point shooter at Cochise College, averaging 7.8 points and 3.8 rebounds. She was part of an Apache team that was 28-6 in 2022-23.

Brock also adds a veteran of the Division I level in Wyoming transfer Lexi Bull, a 6-0 forward who totaled eight points, 18 rebounds and six assists in 59 minutes across three seasons.

Dyamon Griggs, a 5-11 sophomore from Midwestern State, joined Brock’s inaugural class this week after averaging 12.2 points and 8.2 rebounds at the Division II level a year ago.

They also added 6-0 guard Karyn Sanford, a member of UAlbany’s WNIT team a season ago as a freshman, who averaged 2.1 points.

On May 18, it was announced that Teresa Maggio will join the Texans after redshirting at IUPUI last year. As a high school player in Indiana, Maggio scored 1,161 points (18.7 PPG) and holds school records for field goal percentage (.500), 3-point percentage (.340), and free throw percentage (.890).

Coaching news

There has also been quite a bit of coaching movement around the WAC this offseason. We all know that Mark Kellogg left Stephen F. Austin and took the West Virginia job. But three former WAC assistants also took head coaching jobs.

Former CBU assistant Jessica Case took over as head coach at Hope International University (NAIA) in Fullerton, CA last offseason and guided the Royals to a 24-8 overall mark and was 13-5 in the GSAC (Golden State Athletic Conference). They won the GSAC tournament but fell in an NAIA tournament opening round game against Dakota Wesleyan University.

Southern Utah head coach Tracy Sanders signed a 5-year extension following a championship season in Cedar City. Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

Two other WAC assistants, both from Abilene Christian, will get their first shots at being a head coach next season.

Former ACU associate head coach Erika Lambert took over at North Florida on April 6. She’ll inherit an Osprey program that went 7-20 overall and just 4-13 in Atlantic Sun play.

Meanwhile, Weston Jameson moves from the women’s side back to the men’s as he takes over the program at Harding University. He’ll inherit a Bison program that was 8-20 overall but just 4-18 in Great American Conference play.

At Southern Utah, Tracy Sanders inked a five year contract extension after last year’s regular season and tournament championships. However, Associate Head Coach Katie Gruys left to take a job on the staff at High Point University. Coming over from Saint Mary’s to fill that post is Allyson Fasnacht, the interim head coach there this past season before Jeff Cammon was named to that job.

About the author

Derryl Trujillo

Derryl Trujillo is a Southern California based sportswriter who won the 2019 Inland Empire Baseball Coaches Association's Supporter of the Year award. He joined the WAC Hoops Digest staff in 2020 and also covers local sports for Inland Sports and the Valley News. Before transitioning to media Derryl was a high school, collegiate and club volleyball official along with serving as a high school basketball scorekeeper for ten years.

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