Forward Gonzaga's FanFest Features Yvonne Ejim And New Zags

Forward Gonzaga’s FanFest Features Yvonne Ejim And New Zags

In the end, there were numerous reasons for the hundreds of Gonzaga supporters to spend the most of a beautiful Saturday afternoon inside a basketball gym. As GU women’s coach Lisa Fortier noted frequently during introductions at the Numerica FanFest even at the Kennel, pure curiosity was at the top of the list.

About 500 spectators, the majority of whom arrived as the doors opened an hour earlier, heard Fortier say, “I’m getting a lot of queries on how excellent the team is going to be.” You can now see our current location, Fortier stated. We constantly strive to improve, and thus far, yesterday’s practice was our best.

Of course, winning is the other objective, and during pregame introductions, supporters were reminded that the Zags have won 17 West Coast Conference championships and made it to the NCAA Tournament 13 times.

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Four starters from the team that finished second in the NCAA tournament and won 27 games last year have graduated. That raised some issues, which the Zags attempted to address during a 2-hour celebration that featured a skills competition, a 3-point shooting contest, and 20 minutes of actual basketball.

With only 11 players dressed, there were plenty of minutes and opportunities to satisfy interested spectators. For the record, Yvonne Ejim scored a game-high 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting as the White team defeated the Navy team 39-27.

There is no surprise that Kaylynne Truong contributed nine points, but McKayla Williams’ 10-point performance, in which she made all five of her attempts, made the difference. Fortier also praised the former four-star recruit for a pass that resulted in an easy basket from Truong that assisted the White team in gaining an advantage.

Williams, who defeated graduate transfer Brynna Maxwell in the 3-point shooting competition, said, “My team trusts me and I trust them.” Williams, who might have the inside track for a starting position on the wing, admitted that all she had been working on this summer was her shooting.

Maxwell and Maud Huijbens each contributed five points, with Kayleigh Truong leading the Navy team with 11 points. Players attempted to respond to a few questions as they adapted to new responsibilities. Williams and Maxwell handled the shooting from outside, and Huijbens supported Ejim from within.

Fortier praised junior college transfer forward Destiny Burton, another newbie, for arriving at the ideal time. Burton recorded three points and three rebounds while playing the entire 20 minutes. Bree Salenbien, a sophomore, sat out the game because she is still rehabilitating from a knee injury she sustained in March.

When GU hosts Western Washington in an exhibition game on Nov. 4, fans will have another opportunity to witness the Zags. On Nov. 10, Long Beach State visits home for the first game of the regular season.