Michelle Smith Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Feature: Six Unsung Heros
Feb 22, 2021
Not every player’s name reaches the top of the marquee, not every player finishes the season loaded down with awards and accolades. Not every player has the cameras follow them during a game broadcast, or gets requested for postgame interviews.
But there are players on teams across the Pac-12 who are the glue players for their teams, the players for whom their teams rely on for connection and hustle and critical minutes on the floor.
Aleah Goodman, Oregon State - Goodman is one of the most experienced players on the Oregon State roster, a leader on a team that is finding its footing late in the season. But because of the pauses that have interrupted significant chunks of the season, Goodman, even as the Beavers’ leading scorer, may not get the recognition she will deserve. Goodman put up 20 points and nine assists in Sunday’s critical win over UCLA, the Beavers’ fifth win in the last six games. She is averaging 18.2 points over the past five games.
Frida Formann, Colorado - The freshman guard from Denmark has made an impact on a Buffaloes’ team that is making its case for the NCAA Tournament. Formann finished Sunday’s win over Washington with 17 points and seven rebounds, leading Colorado to its first weekend road sweep in eight years, putting the Buffs over .500 for the first time since early in the season. Formann has hit 47 3-pointers this season, ranking her third in the Pac-12 and has averaged 13.3 points a game over the last six games.
Trinity Baptiste, Arizona - The grad transfer chose to come to Arizona sight unseen last spring after leaving Virginia Tech and she has been a vital part of the Wildcats’ success this season. Baptiste is averaging 8.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. She is Arizona’s third-leading scorer and rebound and head coach Adia Barnes is lobbying hard to get Baptiste to return for one more season in 2021-22.
Ula Motuga, Washington State - The junior forward from Australia played a key role inside for the Cougars, who ended a four-game losing streak Sunday and are looking for a late-season rally to keep their fading NCAA hopes alive. Motuga is averaging 11.4 points and 7.6 rebounds in the last eight games and broke out for 25 points and 10 rebounds earlier this season against USC.
Natalie Chou, UCLA - The redshirt senior guard is the very definition of a glue player for the Bruins, providing experience, poise and offensive balance to a team that has been dealing with depth issues all season. Chou has scored in double figures in seven of her last nine games - and four in a row - the longest such streak of her career. Averaging a career-best 11.3 points a game, Chou is providing a jolt of offense to complement Michaela Onyenwere and Charisma Osborne.
Lexie Hull, Stanford - The junior wing’s scoring average has dipped a bit as the Cardinal has found more offensive options with the emergence of Haley Jones and freshman center Cameron Brink, but she provides such valuable minutes for one of the nation’s deepest teams. Hull provides hustle and defense and she is averaging 11.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, and a team-leading 36 steals, ranking her 8th in the Pac-12.