20190302 WBB Senior Night Game

Gonzaga junior forward Jill Townsend drives the ball during a game against LMU in March.

Despite official practice starting less than two weeks ago, Gonzaga women's basketball will take to the court Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. for its annual season tipoff event, Fan Fest.

Following player introductions, a hot shot contest opens the festivities for the Zags. A 3-point competition succeeds that, with the real action, a four-quarter scrimmage, concluding the evening.

"I’m looking forward to just playing in front of our crowd again. My family’s gonna be in town, so I’m excited to see them," junior forward Jenn Wirth told media on Monday. "I’m just excited to play with this team. We’re all super unselfish, play really well together as a team, so I’m excited.”

Headlining this year's GU team are a pair of juniors: Wirth and Jill Townsend. Both were selected to the Preseason All-West Coast Conference earlier in the month. Other notable returning faces include seniors Jessie Loera and Katie Campbell, and junior LeAnne Wirth.

The Bulldogs are not without newcomers, welcoming three freshmen — Kayleigh Truong, Kaylynne Truong and Eliza Hollingsworth — as well as senior Cierra Walker, who transferred from Vanderbilt University.

"It’s good to see where we’re at, see what you can do under lights," head coach Lisa Fortier said of Fan Fest.

During its first week of practice, GU didn't hold full-court scrimmages but Fortier said it ramped up the workload last week in preparation for Fan Fest.

She said she'll be looking for more "directive talk and leadership" in Saturday's scrimmage, something that's yet to emerge thus far.

"I still don’t know exactly what we’re gonna get as far as leaders go besides the seniors," she said. "... I’m interested to see that part on Saturday — because one team’s gonna win and one team’s gonna not. And whichever team gets down, how [are] they gonna be rallied and who’s gonna help with that?"

The McCarthey Athletic Center doors open at 3 p.m. Saturday and players will be available to sign autographs following the scrimmage.

"Just to experience it with the fans and our teammates for the first time, I’m very excited," Kaylynne Truong said.

Jackson Frank is a sports editor and the digital editor. Follow him on Twitter: @jackfrank_jjf.

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