All-time best: These five Gonzaga women's basketball teams have defined the program's rise

Mar. 16—These are the five best teams in Gonzaga women's basketball — at least in the perspective of The Spokesman-Review.

It's unscientific.

Criteria was used, but it would take up too much space to explain. The teams are listed by year.


Coach: Kelly Graves

Record: 31-5

Noteworthy players: Courtney Vandersloot, senior, guard, 19.8 ppg, 10.2 apg, 3.7 rpg, 3.2 spg; Kayla Standish, junior, forward, 16.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg; Katelan Redmon, jr, g, 16.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg; Janelle Bekkering, sr., g/f, 11.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg.

At a glance: The Zags were a guard-driven team, led by the do-everything Vandersloot. Gonzaga beat BYU 91-64 and twice reached 106 points in conference wins over Saint Mary's (106-77, 106-66). In the NCAA Tournament, Zags opened at home with wins over Iowa (92-86) and UCLA (89-75). In the West Regional at the Arena, Gonzaga defeated Louisville 76-69 to advance to the Elite Eight and was one win away from its first Final Four appearance. But in the regional final, Stanford handled Gonzaga 83-60.


Coach: Lisa Fortier

Record: 26-8

Noteworthy players: Sunny Greinacher, sr., f, 14.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg; Keani Albanez, sr., g, 13.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg; Elle Tinkle, jr., g, 11.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg.

At a glance: In Fortier's debut season, the Zags gave their new coach a win in the first game, rallying from a 33-22 halftime deficit to beat Dayton 75-65. After beating BYU twice in conference play, Gonzaga fell to BYU 61-55 in the WCC Tournament title game. In the NCAA Tournament, the Zags defeated George Washington 82-69 in their opener and topped host Oregon State 76-64. The Zags built as much as a 17-point lead over Tennessee in a Sweet 16 game at the Arena but fell 73-69 in overtime.


Coach: Lisa Fortier

Record: 29-5

Noteworthy players: Zykera Rice, sr., f, 15 ppg, 5.8 rpg; Jill Townsend, soph., g, 9.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg; Chandler Smith, sr., g, 9.2 ppg, 5 rpg; Laura Stockton, sr., g, 8.9 ppg, 3.7 apg.

At a glance: A talented team that struggled against BYU, losing both conference games and falling to the Cougars 82-68 in the WCC Tournament final. The Zags, who were given their best seed in NCAA Tournament at No. 5, beat Little Rock in their NCAA Tournament opener and lost to Oregon State 76-70 at Corvallis, Oregon.


Coach: Lisa Fortier

Record: 28-3

Noteworthy players: Jill Townsend, jr., g, 12.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg; Katie Campbell, sr., g, 11 ppg, 3.6 rpg; Jessie Loera, sr., g, 7.5 ppg, 4.8 apg.

At a glance: Put an asterisk on this season. The Zags were set to host first- and second-round NCAA Tournament games when the season came to an end because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Zags reached their highest Associated Press ranking at No. 11. Gonzaga lost at Stanford 76-70 in overtime, defeated Purdue 63-50 and swept BYU in WCC play. Portland stunned the Zags 70-69 in a conference tournament semifinal.


Coach: Lisa Fortier

Record: 30-3

Noteworthy players: The starting lineup. Yvonne Ejim, sr., f, 19.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg; Brynna Maxwell, graduate, wing, 14.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg; Kayleigh Truong, graduate, g, 11.9 ppg, 4.5 apg; Kaylynne Truong, graduate, g, 11.6 ppg, 5.9 apg; Eliza Hollingsworth, graduate, f, 10.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg.

At a glance: The Zags aren't done writing the ending to this season's story. But what a season it has been. Season highlights include a 96-78 statement win over then-No. 3 Stanford and two other wins over the Pac-12's Cal and Arizona. The Zags held off Big Sky Conference and tournament champ Eastern Washington 82-80 at Cheney. Gonzaga went 16-0 in the WCC before being upset by Portland 67-66 in the conference tournament final.