What Lacia Gorman has done is nothing short of miraculous.
Returning to her alma mater in 2018 to take over the girls’ basketball program, Coach Gorman has turned around a program from being an area pushover to a potential nightly contender.
Under Gorman’s tutelage, Wayne finished with 10 wins last season, the most for the team since the 2014-15 campaign in which the Generals went 13-7. And that was a squad that did not have a single senior on the roster.
Back with all players of consequence back another year better and wiser, expectations are as high as they have been in a decade-plus for the Generals.
There is no clear-cut star for Wayne, but rather a host of solid hoopers. Emilia Diaz and Aniah Hill will be looked upon to lead the way this season. As juniors, the pair of guards were the Generals’ leading scorers, the lone players who averaged double digits in points with Diaz at 11.0 points per game and Hill at 10.7. Both are versatile players who aren’t afraid to mix it up in the post for rebounds and are dangerous defensively with an adept ability to get in passing lanes and knock balls away for steals.
“(Emilia) is our leader,” Gorman said. “We will look to her to do it all for us on both ends of the floor. She leads by example.”
Hill led the team last year in rebounds, assists and steals per game – a testament to how many ways she can affect things on the court.
“She is our energizer bunny,” Gorman said. “She is the one we will go to when we need to get out of a scoring drought.”
Senior Shabrea O’Quinn will give Wayne some height in the post after not playing last year. As a sophomore, O’Quinn averaged 11.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, giving the Generals another weapon.
Juniors Sydney Gorman and Khalise Collins return after seeing significant action as sophomores. Gorman will run the point while Collins will look to build upon her 8.5 point and 5.8 rebound averages from a year ago.
“As (Sydney) goes our team goes,” Coach Gorman said. “She can shoot the ball from anywhere on the floor and I will bet it has a chance of going in.”
Thrust into the fire last year as freshmen, guards Tani and Tanea Hairston are back with a year of varsity experience. Both played in 22 games last season and will be asked to play more like veterans by Coach Gorman.
After not having a senior each of the last two years, Wayne now has a trio in which to lean on who have been through the battles and know the system under Coach Gorman.
Fresh off a 10-win season, Wayne returns every player of consequence from a year ago, and adds O’Quinn back to the fold.
Arguably for the first time in her five years, Coach Gorman has a veteran group that knows what she expects. Close games that were losses last year – such as against Bishop Dwenger, Lakewood Park and Bishop Luers in January – should be able to be turned into victories this season.
Playing girls’ basketball at Wayne has become popular again, and that’s a testament to Coach Gorman.
WHY NOT HIGHER?
Wayne struggled down the stretch last season, losing seven of its final eight games and seeing the season end with an 18-point loss to South Side, a team the Generals beat in the regular season.
The grind caught up with a young group that had some depth issues at times. The lack of depth is something that Gorman has pointed to in preseason as a concern.
Nov. 12 at Homestead
Is Wayne a true SAC title contender? That may be a stretch, but opening the conference slate against the perennial power that is the Spartans can be both good and bad.
It is definitely a barometer game to see where you stand, and when it comes to program building, nothing gives you a better read on where your team is than facing Homestead.
Last year, Wayne was mauled 75-16 by Homestead. In fact, the Generals have not eclipsed 21 points against the Spartans since 2016.
It is a tall task for Coach Gorman’s squad to go in to Homestead this year and get a win. But if we see the Generals be more competitive in this early-season clash, it will showcase the growth we know is happening off Winchester Road. That’s huge as a program continues to emerge from the shadows.
Emilia Diaz, senior
As Coach Gorman has grown the Wayne program, the team has lacked a floor leader who can take control, command the attention of her teammates and get them locked in and focus in the face of adversity.
Diaz needs to fill that role this year. Coach Gorman gushes about how the senior leads by example on both ends of the floor in her hustle, her passion and her play.
Diaz will be a spark with how she fills the stat column, but her ability to rally her teammates when times get tough will be invaluable.
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