Utah Valley sophomore forward Shay Fano is the Newcomer of the Week after helping the Wolverines sweep Chicago State to stay in the mix for the regular season crown. Courtesy CBU Athletics.

WAC Hoops Digest Women’s Basketball News and Notes: Week ending 2/7/21

Before we jump into recapping the week that was in WAC women’s basketball there was some sad news to report from Sunday morning. UTRGV men’s basketball coach Lew Hill passed away at the age of 55, hours after coaching his Vaqueros team in a two-point loss at Texas Southern. On behalf of all of us at WAC Hoops Digest, we send our thoughts and prayers to his family, friends, and colleagues across college basketball. 

Players of the Week

There were a lot of worthy performances to consider for WAC Hoops Digest Player of the Week but none better than these three below>>

Ane Olaeta – California Baptist University

A historic season for the Lancers continued with another sweep at home against New Mexico State, who owns five of the last six regular season titles. Olaeta ,voted unanimously as Preseason Player of the Year, lived up to that billing by averaging 12.0 PPG, 8.0 APG, and 4 RPG. CBU is now 16-0 overall & 8-0 in WAC play, and ranked 9th in’s women’s basketball Mid-Major Top-25 poll. 

Ane Olaeta continues to be a dominating force as CBU continues to win games, improving to 16-0 overall after sweeping New Mexico State. Courtesy CBU Athletics.

Laura Piera and Katie Scott – Grand Canyon University

As a result of COVID-19 postponements, the Lopes played four conference games in eight days. GCU had series sweeps over Tarleton State and UTRGV to grab 2nd place in the WAC at 5-1. 

Piera, known as LP by those in the Lopes program, averaged 13.3 PPG on 20-43 FG’s (46.5%) & was 6-11 from three point range (54.5%) with 3.3 APG, 1.5 APG, and 2.5 SPG in 34 minutes. Her best performance was in game two against Tarleton State where the junior posted 17 pts on 7-12 FG’s (1-2 3s) and 2 assists in 37 minutes. 

Scott, a three time WAC Ticketstarter Player of the Week honoree in her freshman campaign, averaged 16.8 PPG on 25-45 FG’s (45%) and 7-14 from outside the arc (50%) along with 4 RPG, 2 SPG & 2 APG in the sweeps. Her best performance of the week was in Sunday’s getaway game against UTRGV where she posted 21 points on 7-12 FG’s (3-5 3’s), 5 rebounds, and 2 assists in 24 minutes. 

Under first year head coach Molly Miller the Lopes are 13-3 overall and 5-1 in WAC play. 

Laura Piera (5) and Katie Scott have GCU at the top of the WAC standings right behind CBU after sweeping UTRGV over the weekend. Courtesy GCU Athletics.

Honorable mention goes to Utah Valley’s Josie Williams who averaged a double-double of 17.5 ppg & 10 rpg in a sweep of Chicago State.

Newcomer of the Week

Shay Fano of Utah Valley University is our WAC Hoops Digest Newcomer of the Week after the Wolverines swept Chicago State. In the sweep, Fano averaged 12.0 PPG on 11-23 FG’s (1-5 3s), 7.5 RPG, and 4.0 APG. Utah Valley is 6-3 overall and 4-2 in WAC play. 

Olson Reaches 200 Wins as Lancers Head Coach

CBU women’s basketball coach Jarrod Olson recorded his 200th career victory in nine years in the Lancers win over New Mexico State Friday.

“I feel as if I’ve had two jobs in these last nine years because we’ve gone through this process of transitioning twice,” Olson said about the achievement in a postgame zoom call on Saturday. “It’s been a blast to guide the program through this process while being successful in it and I hope we’re here for many more years to come.” 

A Look Ahead….

Here are the series for this week as of press time>>

CBU at UTRGV, 11am Pacific (1pm Central).

Both games are on the WAC Digital Network.

It’s another Texas road trip. The Lancers look to reach 18-0 overall and 8-0 in WAC play. CBU also has GCU at home looming the following week. Lane Lord’s Vaqueros squad competed and fought hard against the ‘Lopes relentless pressure while being swept at GCU Arena. We’ll find out if this series is a go later this week. UTRGV Administrators are dealing with the death of men’s coach Lew Hill on Sunday morning. 

Tarleton State @ Chicago State, 1pm Central

Both games are on the WAC Digital Network.  

Someone will get into the WAC winner’s club on Friday afternoon in Chicago. This series is between conference cellar dwellers who have competed well but remain winless in WAC play. 

Seattle University @ New Mexico State in El Paso, 1pm Central

Both games are on the WAC Digital Network.

The Redhawks were idle in conference play last week. However, Seattle did get a game against Cascade Conference (NAIA) member Northwest. Last time out they swept Chicago State and now at 4-2 find themselves T3 with Utah Valley University. New Mexico State looks to bounce back after a tough weekend in Riverside getting swept by 1st place CBU. 

Grand Canyon University @ Utah Valley University, 2pm Mountain both days on the WAC Digital Network

This series was just added on Monday morning with both sides agreeing to use the bye week instead of waiting for their regular season finales to play it. It’s a pivotal one for both sides as GCU needs a sweep to keep pace with first place CBU with that series set for next week. Utah Valley has won four in a row but this will be their toughest test since opening weekend. Look for a more in depth preview on this series later on.

WAC Standings as of 2/7/2021

California Baptist University>> 16-0, 8-0

Grand Canyon University>>     13-3, 5-1

Utah Valley University>>            6-3, 4-2

Seattle University>>                   9-7, 4-2

New Mexico State University>> 3-8, 1-3

UTRGV>>                                  4-7, 0-2

Tarleton State University>>       4-12, 0-6

Chicago State University>>       0-9, 0-6

***Dixie State has suspended women’s basketball competition in response to COVID-19 for the year. 


About the author

Derryl Trujillo

Derryl Trujillo is a Southern California based sportswriter who won the 2019 Inland Empire Baseball Coaches Association's Supporter of the Year award. He joined the WAC Hoops Digest staff in 2020 and also covers local sports for Inland Sports and the Valley News. Before transitioning to media Derryl was a high school, collegiate and club volleyball official along with serving as a high school basketball scorekeeper for ten years.

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