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High-scoring transfer Abby O’Connor signs with Gonzaga women

UPDATED: Wed., April 15, 2020

Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier instructs her team during a practice on Monday, July 29, 2019, at GU’s  Volkar Center for Athletic Achievement. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier instructs her team during a practice on Monday, July 29, 2019, at GU’s Volkar Center for Athletic Achievement. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Abby O’Connor, a versatile 6-foot wing who led Loyola of Chicago in scoring and rebounding the past two seasons, signed Wednesday to play for Gonzaga.

The signing wasn’t a surprise. O’Connor announced her oral commitment to GU on April 3 via social media, posting on Twitter: “Excited to be joining Gonzaga WBB!”

O’Connor made it official on Wednesday.

“I am excited for Gonzaga to help me grow as a person and leader while preparing me for my future on and off the court,” O’Connor said.

On the court, that won’t happen until the fall of 2021, as O’Connor must sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules. A three-year letter winner at Loyola, she has one year of eligibility remaining.

That season will come following the expected graduation next year of wing Jill Townsend, the reigning West Coast Conference Most Valuable Player. On Wednesday, GU head coach Lisa Fortier seemed to liken O’Connor to Townsend.

“She is very versatile and can stretch the defense at the forward and dominate inside as a guard.” Fortier said. “She is a very good shooter who finishes well from the paint, midrange and 3-point line.

“She is also a really good student and will bring additional maturity to our team in two years.”

O’Connor is coming off a solid junior year in which she averaged 12.3 points and eight rebounds while playing almost 33 minutes per game.

Those numbers are down from a breakout sophomore season in 2018-19, when O’Connor started all 31 games and averaged 14.6 points, 7.6 boards and 1.6 blocks.

In February, the South Bend, Indiana, native became the 25th player in Loyola history to surpass 1,000 career points. O’Connor is one of two players in program history to have eclipsed 1,000 career points, 500 rebounds and 100 career blocks.

O’Connor is the third player and first transfer committed to GU in the past month. The Zags have oral commitments from freshmen Esther Little, a 6-2 wing from Ipswich, England, and Payton Muma, a 5-8 point guard from Colorado.

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