SPOKANE, Wash. – The Gonzaga Bulldogs erased an eight-point fourth quarter UNLV lead and led by two late, but fell to UNLV on Saturday afternoon inside the McCarthey Athletic Center, 52-50.
The Zags had an out-of-bounds call on the court reversed and had possession up 50-48 with 1:17 remaining, but a turnover at the offensive end led to an eventual layup for UNLV with a foul, and an offensive rebound on the free throw that led to a put-back for the 52-50 lead. GU got a great look on their offensive end as the three from Laura Stockton just glanced off the back iron. The loss snapped 10-straight wins at home for GU.
Chandler Smith led the Zags in points with 17, rebounds with eight, on six-of-14 shooting. Zykera Rice added 12 points and six boards, and Emma Stach scored nine, tying her season high. Jill Townsend gave a great boost during the late comeback and finished with seven points and five rebounds off the bench. The Zags were playing without their injured leading scorer, and rebounder Jill Barta.
The start of the game was methodical, with GU leading 6-4 through the first five minutes. GU battled foul trouble and UNLV led 11-10 after one quarter and 13-10 early in the second as GU hit a four-minute scoreless stretch. The Zags responded with a 6-0 run fueled by a three from Emma Stach that eventually ended with a UNLV three-point play at the 4:58 mark. The teams began trading baskets over the next four minutes as UNLV regained a late 22-20 lead. A jumper by Smith tied at the game at 22 at the half. Smith led the team with eight points and eight rebounds at half, and Stach added seven and Rice scored six in limited minutes due to foul trouble. Neither team shot well from the field, both below 35 percent, and GU forced seven turnovers.
The third quarter saw the offense pickup as Smith hit two early threes and ended the quarter with 16 points. The lead went back and forth until GU grabbed a 37-34 lead with one minute left in the period, but UNLV responded with back-to-back threes to lead 40-37 at the horn. UNLV made three threes in the quarter on four attempts. To start the fourth, UNLV scored five-straight to extend the lead to eight, their largest to that point. Stach killed the run with a jumper at the 7:35 mark. From there Gonzaga went on an 11-3 run fueled by attacking the basket and getting to the line, and three consecutive offensive rebounds by Townsend that ended with a put-back for the 50-48 lead. UNLV was able to score the final four points.
“We defended well enough to win, but just didn’t get the offense going,” Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier said. “We are better offensively then we played today.”
GU was only out-rebounded by one, 35-34, with seven Zags grabbing at least three. GU shot 33 percent and UNLV shot 40 percent. The Lady Rebels made four second-half threes after only making two in their first 11 attempts. The Gonzaga bench outscored UNLV 9-0, led by seven from Townsend. GU forced 15 turnovers for 14 points.
The Zags (5-4) will take eight days off for finals week and be back on the court on December 17 at home against Saint Francis (PA) at 2 pm.