SPOKANE, Wash. - In front of its third-largest crowd in school history, the Gonzaga University women's basketball team defeated its second-straight Pacific-10 Conference opponent - claiming an 81-52 victory over the University of Washington in front 4,259 rowdy Zag fans at the McCarthey Athletic Center Sunday afternoon. The Bulldogs improved to 3-1 on the year with the win while the Huskies dropped to 1-2 overall.
"I am very proud of how we played tonight," stated head coach Kelly Graves after the game. "We used great defense to get out and running to beat a good basketball team in Washington. We were very motivated to play an in-state rival in the Huskies and played with great intensity."
Gonzaga stormed out to an impressive 18-2 lead nearly seven minutes into the contest. Washington scored the first bucket of the game, a layup by Regina Rogers, but then it was all Bulldogs as they rattled off the 18-0 run, allowed UW to get up only two shots attempts and forced the Huskies to turn the ball over 11 times during the stretch.
"We really used defensive pressure to know them on their heels to build that early 16 point lead," explained Graves.
The Huskies stopped the Zags run with a layup by Sami Whitcomb at the 13:22 mark and went on to score the next six points to cut Gonzaga's advantage to eight at 18-10. Gonzaga responded though, scoring 15 of the next 19 points to gain its-then largest lead of the half at 33-14 with 5:39 remaining before halftime. Five different Zags scored during the spurt, including sophomore Kayla Standish who had five points.
Gonzaga went into the locker room with its largest lead of the half at 45-24. Sophomore Katelan Redmon, who transferred from Washington after her freshman year, scored six of her 12 first half points down the stretch to help the Bulldogs secure the 21 point cushion.
Junior point guard Courtney Vandersloot, like always, was the catalyst behind Gonzaga, as she dished out nine assists in the first 20, scored nine points and had three steals.
The Bulldogs limited the Huskies to just 33.3 percent shooting in the opening half (9-of-27) and held the 29-12 advantage on the boards. GU shot 50.0 percent (18-of-36) from the floor, had 10 assists, nine steals and four blocks.
The second half was just as exciting as the first as Gonzaga never let Washington get closer than 17 points of the lead; which came just two minutes into the second half at 47-30.
The Bulldogs largest lead of the contest was 31, hit three different times, the last coming when Redmon hit a jumper with 28 seconds left in the contest to put the score at 81-50.
Senior Vivian Frieson was a monster on the board over the final 20 minutes, grabbing 11 of her game-high 14 - just two off tying her career high. Seven players scored for Gonzaga in the second half, while three players dished out two assists each.
Vandersloot closed out the contest with a double-double of 18 points and 11 assists. Redmon also chipped in 18 points, a career-high at Gonzaga; while senior Heather Bowman added 17 and junior Janelle Bekkering had 10. Frieson, added six points, three assists, four blocks and one steal to her game-high 14 boards.
Bekkering also did a superb job defensively on Washington guard Sami Whitcomb, who coming into the contest was averaging 23.5 points per game and scored just five in the game, going 2-of-7 from the field.
Washington was led by Rogers with 12 points. Mackenzie Argens added nine and Kristi Kingma finished with eight.
Gonzaga continues its three-game homestand by welcoming the University of North Dakota to the McCarthey Athletic Center on Wednesday, Nov. 25. Game time is set for 6 p.m.