The West Coast Conference continues to be a destination of choice for elite Australian talent, with Under 19 national team and Class of 2020 point guard Lily Scanlon verbally committing to Gonzaga.
Scanlon will be the second Australian on the Zags’ roster in 2020/21, joining Victorian and Australian teammate, freshman forward Eliza Hollingsworth in Spokane. Scanlon’s signing alongside Hollingsworth continues a growing tradition of Australians signing with Gonzaga, stretching back to Kelly Bowen’s time with the program between 2008-12 as well as Georgia Stirton’s stint between 2014 and 2016.
A revelation in the Sapphires team that secured bronze at the 2018 FIBA Under 17 World Cup, where she averaged 11.7 points and shot 45% from the field, Scanlon was also a member of this year’s silver medal winning Under 19 World Cup, tallying 5.7 points and 2.3 assists per contest.
A crafty guard with exceptional quickness off the mark, Scanlon has proven her ability to create for both herself and teammates. She finished sixth for scoring average and topped the assist charts at the 2018 Under 18 national championships with 13.4 points and 5.9 assists per game as Victoria Metro came away with gold. Scanlon then backed that up with gold as part of a star-studded Victorian team at February’s Under 20 national championships. She scored in double figures in four of the first five games before a minor injury forced her to take a back seat for the final stages of the competition.
Although her future destination is set, Scanlon’s work in Australia is far from over. The 18-year-old recently signed with the WNBL’s UC Capitals as a development player on the back of an outstanding season in NBL1 with the BA Centre of Excellence (CoE) side. The Victorian finished the CoE’s 2019 campaign as their leading scorer among qualified players with 11.2 points per game on a team that at times featured now-Division 1 players Adelaide Fuller, Ashlee Hannan and Isabel Palmer. The team finished with a 6-14 record in a season interrupted by a number of players, including Scanlon, representing Australia on the world stage.
Scanlon may be only the first Australian woman in the Class of 2020 to announce her commitment to a West Coast Conference school, but Pepperdine, Portland, Saint Mary’s, and now Gonzaga are all set to feature multiple Australians on their rosters in 2020/21. Saint Mary’s has long been the destination of choice for Australians heading to the west coast for college, but the formations of pipelines now appear to have been built at several schools as the Gaels’ conference opponents look to beat the team from Moraga at their own game.