The landscape in the WAC has changed quite a bit since writing this article last season. Two teams left the conference, coaches came and went, and some players are wearing new colors going into this upcoming season. But when it comes to women’s basketball, five players stand out as clear choices for Preseason WAC Player of the Year. Let’s take a look at who these players are.
1. Starr Jacobs- UTA
The reigning Preseason and Regular Season WAC Player of the Year was nearly impossible to stop last season. The 6’2” forward from Dallas, Texas averaged 18.1 points and 8.8 assists while also getting it done on the defensive end with three steals per game. Although her team did not perform as well as expected in their first season in the WAC, this off-season saw the addition of Taliyah Clark from Seattle U as well as Avery Brittingham from SFA. This team is looking like contenders this year and Starr Jacobs is a big reason why.
2. Trinity San Antonio- GCU
This offseason Trinity San Antonio decided to trade in her navy and gold for purple and white. Head Coach Molly Miller’s highlight of recruiting this off-season was snagging San Antonio in the portal, making it two years in a row that one of the Lancers decided to come east to Phoenix with Sydney Palma doing so one year ago as a grad transfer. Last year saw some early injury struggles for San Antonio, but once she was back on the court she looked better than ever. The All-WAC first teamer averaged 14 points and 2.3 steals per game, leading her team in both categories. She was also a huge reason the Lancers made it to the WAC tournament championship game along with winning the WBI tournament in Kentucky. . Now at GCU, can she do the same alongside players like Olivia Lane, Tiarra Brown, and Shay Fano?
3. Breaunna Gillen- UTU
Last season, Gillen was one of the biggest scoring threats in the conference with 17.8 points per game. She also led the WAC in assists at 6.5 per game and was a first team all WAC selection for her stellar season. The fifth year guard is looking to do even more damage this season for a Trailblazer squad that was one of the only teams in the conference that was able to keep its core together.
4. Iyana Dorsey- UTRGV
Because of UTRGV’s lack of recent success on the court Dorsey often gets overlooked. However, she is a stellar guard that deserves to be in the running for Preseason Player of the Year. Last season, she averaged 16 points per game and consistently looked solid for the Lady Vaqueros. This team is definitely not a contender for a championship, but Dorsey can go off any night against any team, making UTRGV a squad that the top teams in the conference should certainly not sleep on.
5. Teresa Da Silva- Tarleton
With the lack of success and new coaching staff at Tarleton, many expected Da Silva to move on this off-season. However, she opted to stay loyal to the team that picked her up from the junior college level just one year ago. In her first season at the Division 1 level, Da Silva averaged 14.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.4 assists while starting in all 28 games.
Olivia Lane- GCU
Olivia Lane definitely made her mark on the Lopes season a year ago. She averaged 11.5 PPG and 5.1 RPG for a GCU team that reached the WAC tournament. With the departure of Evan Zars, who completed her eligibility, Lane will be counted on to provide a large portion of the Lopes scoring in the paint and will be more than up for that task.
Grace Schmidt- CBU
Schmidt was the only Lancer to appear in all 34 games a season ago as CBU reached the WAC tournament final. She was also key in the Lancers’ WBI Tourney championship run. Her stellar play made her our Freshman of the Year at WAC Hoops Digest. She also earned second-team all-WAC honors. She averaged 13.4 PPG and 5.2 RPG and won six Freshman of the Week honors in arguably the best season by a WAC post player since Katie Scott’s 2020-2021 campaign for GCU.
Megan Jensen- SUU
Jensen played a key role in Southern Utah’s incredible championship run last season. She averaged 12 points while shooting around 59 percent from the field. She also grabbed just over five boards a night. The 6’3” Center is expected to be just as dangerous in a bigger leadership role this season for the Thunderbirds.