Grand Canyon
GCU senior guard Laura Piera is the floor general for head coach Molly Miller and the GCU Lopes. Courtesy GCU Athletics.
Grand Canyon News

Grand Canyon Women’s Basketball 2021-22 Season Preview

Teams better be aware that the Grand Canyon women’s basketball team is going to have a massive chip on its shoulder in 2021-22. There are two reasons for this. First, is the fact that the GCU women lost in the WAC title game in March. And second is despite the fact that GCU beat Utah Valley in the WAC semis, Utah Valley got to represent the WAC at the NCAA Tourney when CBU won the WAC tournament. Yes, it was voted on prior to the season. The team who finished second in the regular season standings would represent the WAC if CBU won the tourney. So, by virtue of playing two extra games, Utah Valley got to play top-ranked Stanford while GCU’s season was over. Do you see where the major chip comes in?

Head Coach

Molly Miller, 2nd season
Overall: 198-24
At GCU: 18-7 Overall, 8-4 WAC (3rd place)
Postseason: Western Athletic Conference tournament runner-up

Key Departures

Katie Scott, 6-2, FR, C (Oral Roberts)

Key Newcomers

Amara Graham, 5-6, GR, G (UTRGV)
Ja’Myra McChristine, 6-1, GR, F (Indiana State)
Lauren Rewers, 6-4, GR, C (Michigan State)
Ambranette Storr, 5-9, SO, G (JUCO)
Also, 5 incoming freshman

Key Returners

Laura Piera, 5-8, SR, G
Kennedi Shorts, 6-2, SR, F
Ny’Dajah Jackson, 5-6, GR, G
Tianna Brown, 5-8, SR, G
Tiarra Brown, 5-9, SO, G
Taylor Caldwell, 5-9, RS JR, G

Predicted WAC Finish

Third

Breakdown

With only one starter back from the 2019-20 team that Nicole Powell left when she departed Phoenix for UC Riverside, you couldn’t blame the WAC’s Media and Coaches for placing low expectations on the Lopes in 2020-21. However, Grand Canyon shattered those expectations with a 3rd place finish in the regular season standings. And Grand Canyon was the WAC tournament runner-up, losing to CBU to end their season. 

While the core of Miller’s team will return for the 2021-22 campaign one player who won’t return is Katie Scott (Freshman & Newcomer of the Year). Expressing a desire to be closer to home, the native of Carl Junction, Missouri transferred to Oral Roberts of the Summit League. 

Miller hit the transfer portal hard and has a very good class coming to Phoenix. Five true freshman, a JUCO transfer, and three grad transfers will don the purple and white. One of those grad transfers came from conference rival UTRGV in Amara Graham who averaged 16.5 PPG (conference scoring champion) while shooting 36.6% from 3-point range (6th in conference) and 45.2% in total field goal percentage (8th). Another highlighted grad transfer is 6-4 center Lauren Rewers who comes to Phoenix after undergrad stops at Hawaii and Michigan State and should be in the fight to fill Katie Scott’s spot. 

Leading Miller’s returners are a group of five fired up to prove that the Lopes are more than capable of playing in a postseason tournament after missing all three tournaments a year ago.

-Laura Piera (9.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.9 APG, 32% 3 pt shooter & 41% total) 

-Tianna & Tiarra Brown (11.2 PPG, 5.6 RBS, 1.4 APG, & 1.6 SPG, 32% 3 pt shooter & 42% total)

-Kennedi Shorts 

-Taylor Caldwell (3.2 APG, 2.6 SPG, 4.1 RPG, 9.0 PPG, 25% 3 pt shooter & 32% total) 

A season ago Grand Canyon, who under Miller plays a full court player to player defense, was among the nation’s leaders in turnovers forced per contest at 23.3 per game (4’th nationally). 

However, they were 185th in defensive field goal percentage with teams shooting 40.5% against the Lopes on average. 

 

 

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