DENVER – The future is bright for the Johnson & Wales University women's basketball team.
The young Wildcats gained a ton of valuable experience throughout the 2018-19 season, the program's first as an NCAA Division III Provisional member and the team's inaugural season as part of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC).
Six freshmen played in at least 10 games for third-year head coach Bob Kintzel, including the team's top three leading scorers. In fact, JWU Denver is eligible to return 97.6 percent of the minutes logged this season.
The class of 2022 produced 78.9 percent of the team's points in 2018-19 and also finished as the team's top three leaders in rebounds per game. The starting backcourt combo of first-year guards Katey Guzman and Brianna Bailey both ranked among the top six in the league in scoring, averaging a combined 30.5 points per game.
Together, Guzman and Bailey were the second-highest scoring duo in the league behind only Austin's Bryce Frank and Kacie West, who averaged 31.5 ppg.
Coaches around the league recognized Guzman's breakout season as the Fort Collins, Colorado native was named the SCAC Co-Newcomer-of-the-Year. Guzman and Bailey also each received All-SCAC honorable mention honors.
Other highlights from the Wildcats' 2018-19 season:
- Brianna Bailey scores a career-best 25 points and the Wildcats knock down a season-high 10 3-pointers Nov. 24 vs. St. Olaf
- Salma Oros scores a career-high 15 points Nov. 30 vs. Embry-Riddle
- Avionne Gomez goes 5-of-9 from behind the arc and scores a career-high 24 points Dec. 30 vs. Dallas
- Shaylee Andreatta records a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds Dec. 29 vs. Schreiner
- Ashlea Carothers corrales a career-high 11 rebounds Jan. 18 against Trinity
- Ashley Mortensen scores 7 points in the final 2:24, including a go-ahead 3, to lead the Wildcats to a win over Dallas Christian on Jan. 25
- Katey Guzman totals 24 points, 7 steals, 6 assists and 4 rebounds to lead JWU to its first-ever SCAC victory, a 62-56 road win over Dallas on Jan. 26