Utah Tech women's basketball
Maddie Warren is one of the top-4 scorers returning for Utah Tech in 2022-23. Courtesy Utah Tech Athletics.

Utah Tech Trailblazers Women’s Basketball 2022-23 Season Preview

Utah Tech Women’s Basketball’s first season at the Division I level could have been better. Finishing with a record of 10-19 overall and 6-12 in the WAC, the Trailblazers ended up 11th out of the 13 teams in the conference. 

This offseason did see the exit of Utah Tech’s top scorer Shanaijah Davison. However, most of the core players did stick around for another season in St. George. Utah Tech returns four of its top-5 scorers from 2021-22. This includes sharpshooter Emily Isaacson who led the WAC in 3-pointers made with 88. Breaunna Gillen is also back after averaging over 15 points per game for the Trailblazers. 

Head coach JD Gustin and his staff also managed to snag redshirt freshman Amber Kartchner from BYU. Although still unproven in collegiate play, Kartchner is one of the best high school basketball players in the history of the state of Utah. 

With the shifting of the conference this summer, it will be interesting to see if this Trailblazer squad rises to the challenge, or once again falls to the bottom of the ranks. 

Head Coach:

JD Gustin (7th Season)

At Utah Tech:

208–193

2021-2022 Season Record:

10-19 OVR | 6-12 WAC

Post Season:

N/A (Division I Transition Period)

Departures:

Shailee Bundy – In Transfer Portal

Vegas Camacho – In Transfer Portal

Shanaijah Davison – Graduated

Newcomers:

Amber Kartchner 5-9, [R] Fr., Transfer (BYU)

Key Returners:

Breaunna Gillen 5-9, Sr., G

Emily Isaacson 5-11, [R] So., F

Macie Warren 5-10, So., G

Maddie Warren 5-10, So., G

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Projected Starting Lineup:

1 – Breaunna Gillen

2 – Macie Warren

3 – Maddie Warren

4 – Emily Isaacson

5- Averi Papa

There are a lot of players that could get starting minutes for the Trailblazers this season. However, based on last season’s stats and player experience, this is the lineup that would make the most sense. At least at the beginning of the season.

This lineup and roster have stellar guard play in Breaunna Gillen, one of our picks for WAC POTY, and the Warren sisters. The post is held down by the very talented forward tandem of Emily Issacson and Averi Papa who bring height, defense, and rebounding to a team who looks to improve their play this season. And Isaacson can expand the floor. Isaacson shot 41 percent from 3-point land and knocked down 88 3-pointers. Do not leave her open. 

Breaunna Gillen is a WAC Player of the Year candidate for Utah Tech in 2022-23. Courtesy Utah Tech Athletics.

Outlook:

Although there are some promising young players and exceptional veterans on this squad, Utah Tech still isn’t expected to make much noise in a conference absolutely stacked with talent.

Breaunna Gillen is the undisputed leader of the Trailblazers. Gillen started 29 out of a possible 29 games in 2021-22 for the Trailblazers. And Gillen scored in double figures in 26 of those starts. Along with being an big-time scorer, Gillen is also efficient, shooting 45 percent from the floor. Gillen, along with Emily Isaacson, create a really good 1-2 combo in terms of scoring and experience as Isaacson also started all 29 games in 2021-22. 

However, with that being said, this team will not be at the bottom of the conference either. 

The biggest question is who will be that third or fourth scorer for the Trailblazers? Could redshirt freshman Amber Kartchner fill that role? The Logan, Utah native is sixth all-time in scoring in the state of Utah and averaged 18.3 points per game at Logan High.

Maddie and Macie Warren could be those additional scoring options. Maddie averaged 9.5 points before suffering a season-ending injury. Macie started in 21 contests and averaged 7.0 points.

The Trailblazers have the talent to challenge some of the better contenders in the conference during the regular season. Last year, they managed to take down CBU in Riverside, winning 81-77. Going into this season, I’d expect them to have one or more upsets of the top teams again this year. 

Areas of Improvement: 

The theme of this season for the Trailblazers has to be improving defensively. Last season, the Trailblazers on average allowed their opponents more points per game than any other team in the conference at 72.3. They also had the worst points margin in the conference at -4.6. 

Considering the team was 5th in the conference for offensive points per game at 67.0, adding better defensive play could be the difference maker between the team being at the bottom of the conference and making the top teams sweat. 

Scheduling News

Utah Tech gets off to an interesting start as they travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on Pac-12 foe Washington on Nov. 7. The Trailblazers play a pair of in-state foes in Utah State. Utah Tech hosts the Aggies on Nov. 15 while heading to Ogden to take on Weber State on Dec. 17. The Trailblazers finish up the non-conference slate with a pre-Christmas MTE in Las Vegas where they will play Jacksonville State and Lindenwood.

Utah Tech’s first four games of WAC play are probably not what JD Gustin was hoping for. The Trailblazers go to Southern Utah, host Utah Valley and then go to Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston.

For a team looking to qualify for the WAC tournament, the start to WAC play will have a huge impact.

women's basketball

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