The primary query of Monday’s digital press convention hadn’t but been requested, however Lisa Fortier noticed it coming.
It involved Gonzaga’s nonconference schedule, the one which has been written in moist cement for the reason that finish of final season.
Fortier tossed her masks to the aspect of the desk, leaned into the microphone and mentioned, “Let me inform you every thing we all know for certain concerning the nonconference schedule.”
Needing solely 10 seconds of silence to make her level, Fortier went on to acknowledge that a number of items are coming collectively.
The Zags “are getting nearer to signing a contract” to play in a Thanksgiving occasion in Washington, D.C. and a Christmas-week event in Las Vegas.
Nevertheless, they misplaced out on some potential resume-builders when Arkansas and Arizona regarded elsewhere.
GU nonetheless expects to host Washington State someday in December. “However now there’s some questions concerning the date,” Fortier mentioned.
“In the future we can share all of that data,” she mentioned.
Nevertheless, Fortier didn’t thoughts sharing a few of the frustrations of teaching throughout a pandemic, from delayed practices to worries about depth and hygiene protocols.
However by all of it, there’s basketball to be performed, or at the very least practiced.
“I feel we’re extra appreciative,” mentioned Fortier, who held a group retreat final weekend. “There’s a sense of gratitude, of the chance to play along with your teammates.”
“It received’t be seamless, however now we have plenty of gamers on the market with expertise,” Fortier mentioned.
Of their first presser of the season, Fortier and stars Jill Townsend and Jenn Wirth talked about every thing from senior-year pleasure, the promising expertise of the underclassmen and even the schedule.
That may be the West Coast Convention slate, which was finalized earlier this month.
Requested who would possibly give the defending regular-season champ GU essentially the most hassle this yr, Fortier went with the apparent suspects: BYU and Portland, winners of the final two WCC tournaments.
Then Fortier rattled off the names of just about each different group, hoping that the WCC can present some power this yr ought to the Zags want an RPI enhance come March.
“It’s going to be fascinating,” mentioned Fortier, who went 17-1 within the convention final yr and 28-3 total.
“There’s plenty of good gamers on the market, and we need to play at our prime,” Fortier mentioned, fretting about what would possibly occur ought to a participant or two go all the way down to harm or quarantine.
For that motive, “We want the youthful gamers to stand up to hurry as quickly as doable,” she mentioned. “However the beauty of freshmen is that they’re able to compete.”
The expertise begins on the high, with Townsend – the reigning MVP of the WCC – Wirth and her twin sister LeeAnne.
“It simply feels good to be again on the court docket,” Townsend mentioned.
Becoming a member of them is a promising group of newcomers, which begged the query: Who will step in for graduated guards Katie Campbell and Jessie Loera?
As regular, Fortier answered that one by saying that it’s seldom a matter of plugging one participant in for an additional.
That’ true of Campbell – among the finest 3-point shooters in program historical past but additionally a stellar defender – in addition to Loera, who mixed pace with robust ball dealing with.
“It’s not going to be precisely the identical,” Fortier mentioned. “We misplaced rather a lot with them in particular person protection. We have to work extra on group protection, making an attempt to recreate that otherwise.”
Management is already in place, with Townsend and the Wirth sisters able to step up.
“I simply hold saying, our arduous work and dedication goes to repay,” Wirth mentioned. “We’re simply taking it one recreation at a time.”
At any time when that’s.