The Gonzaga women’s basketball program has undergone a significant roster churn over the past two seasons, leaving coach Lisa Fortier’s squad without the experience and veteran leadership they are accustomed to having heading into the 2022-23 season.
Fortier recognized the need and struck early in the offseason, securing a commitment from graduate transfer Brynna Maxwell, a Washington native who spent the past three seasons at the University of Utah where she scored in double figures every season.
“Adding Brynna just gives us a little more stability,” Fortier told me on the Locked on Zags podcast in July. “A proven player who has experience to help bridge that gap.”
Maxwell’s experience in the Pac-12 over the past three seasons is a huge boost for a Gonzaga team that has lost 10 players to graduation over the past two years, but it comes with an added bonus: Maxwell has played a lot of games not only against non-conference foe Stanford, but against Utah’s in-state rival BYU as well.
“I don’t even like to mention their name,” Maxwell said on Thursday’s episode of Locked on Zags. “The rivalry runs deep in Utah so I came in prepared. The game is already circled on my calendar, both times we play them. We open conference and end conference with them so it will be great that they are thinking about us beginning and end.”
The WCC is dominated by the Zags and Cougars, with 12 of the last 14 WCC championships won by either squad. 2016 (San Francisco) and 2020 (Portland) are the outliers, and BYU finished second in 2016.
This is the final year where this rivalry will be interconference, with BYU set to move to the Big 12 starting in the 2023-24 season. All the more reason to ensure they play second fiddle one more time.
Andy hosts the Locked on Zags and Locked on College Basketball podcasts, and serves Locked On in a marketing/digital content creator role as well. He lives just outside Portland with his wife Jenna and dog, Tillie.