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Montana recruit Barta reconfirms commitment to Gonzaga

The Gonzaga women’s basketball team has reconfirmed the commitment of a 6-foot-3 forward Jill Barta from Fairfield, Mont.

Barta, who led her team to a 104-0 record in the past four years, said she will be in Spokane this month to start summer school.

“I’m glad to be a Bulldog,” Barta said.

Barta, who averaged more than 23 points and eight rebounds last year, said it was a shock to learn that Kelly Graves was leaving to take over the program at Oregon. But she said new coach Lisa Fortier had been heavily involved in her recruitment from the beginning.

“I’m happy that I’m staying,” she said. “I’m just excited to come out there and start playing.”

It was feared that Barta would follow the lead of 5-9 guard Lexi Bando, who has been released from her letter of intent to attend Gonzaga. The standout point guard from Willamette High School will now stay in Eugene and play for Graves at Oregon.

Another guard recruit, Georgia Stirton, a 5-8 guard from Melbourne, Australia, earlier had reconfirmed her commitment to transfer to Gonzaga from North Idaho College.

And earlier this month, Gonzaga picked up letters of intent from Emma Stach, a 5-9 guard from Germany and Kacie Bosch, a 5-9 guard from Chinook High School in Lethbridge, Alberta.

Fortier said a third recruit is injured and her status remains unknown.

“We will have three new guards new at the position, but I’m comfortable with the depth,” she said.

Gonzaga, which finished 29-5 last year, must replace starting guards Haiden Palmer, who recently was drafted 29th in the WNBA draft, and Jazmine Redmon.

Fortier said she’s busy getting her office organized and finding two more assistant coaches. She didn’t rule out that Gonzaga could pick up a recruit or two before next fall.

“We always have transfers as an option,” she said. “We’ll see who’s available.”

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