A redshirt season and roster full of upperclassmen at her position made for a season of development
A season with a loaded front court with two eventual WCC Players of the Year and upperclassmen stifled the playing time for redshirt freshman Eliza Hollingsworth. The 6’2” Australian forward returned from a freshman season previously hindered by a high ankle sprain.
Hollingsworth played 10 games for the Zags in 2021, entering in the later minutes of decided games to gain experience and showcase her game as a logical addition to fill the gap by the departure of senior Jill Townsend. In those limited minutes, Hollingsworth showed the ability to fight for rebounds, racking up 10 in 36 total minutes, but also scoring with 24 points.
The Aussie shot 3-6 from outside, which could be something that coach Lisa Fortier attempts to tap into coming into next season. Her highest totals on the season came in Gonzaga’s 95-49 win against Pepperdine. In that game, Hollingsworth scored 8 points in 6 minutes.
But much like teammate Yvonne Ejim, her potential was evident in the WCC championship game against BYU. With a half dozen teammates battling food poisoning, Hollingsworth saw minutes late in a tight game. Fortier drew up looks for Hollingsworth, which resulted in sinking a three to take the lead in the fourth.
It will be interesting to see how Hollingsworth’s game takes shape with more minutes. Fortier does like to keep a longer rotation than most, and the absence of Townsend and the Wirth twins will afford Hollingsworth a legitimate opportunity for playing time, let alone the five other seniors leaving the program.
Hollingsworth slotting in as the companion to Ejim could be a nightmare in waiting if she is able to prove her perimeter shooting was not due to small sample size. She will need to continue to work on her rebounding and foul control as well. Time will tell how this new look women’s team will shake out.