Zags hold off Eags for bounce-back win
Posted on December 4, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Updated Wednesday, Dec 5 at 12:46 AM
SPOKANE – Sophomore Sunny Greinacher scored a career-high 16 points and the Gonzaga University women’s basketball team beat Eastern Washington University 65-50 on Tuesday evening to improve to 7-2 on the season.
Junior Haiden Palmer added 12 points for Gonzaga and sophomore Keani Albanez came off the bench to chip in eight.
Lexi Nelson led Eastern Washington (2-5) with 19 points. Aubrey Ashenfelter had 13.
Gonzaga, coming off a dismal shooting performance against Stanford University Sunday where it shot just 25.4 percent (17-of-67), improved slightly Tuesday, sinking 38.2 percent (26-of-68) from the floor, including 47.1 percent (16-of-34) in the first half.
The 15-point victory was important for the Bulldogs as they were looking to rebound from their tough 69-41 setback to the Cardinal just two days ago.
“I’m really proud of the way we bounced back,” stated head coach Kelly Graves after the game. “Defensively tonight we did a really good job and I loved our energy.”
Gonzaga hit three of its first six shots to run out to a 6-0 advantage and went on to hold a 16-9 edge at the 12:00 minute mark mostly on the play of its posts.
Redshirt freshman Shelby Cheslek, Greinacher and junior Stephanie Golden combined for 10 of the Zags first 16 points.
“We go the ball inside and we haven’t been doing a very good job of that lately, but tonight our high-low was working,” explained Graves whose posts all-together scored 35 of the Bulldogs 65 points. “We have to have an inside presence from somebody or someone’s or we aren’t going to go very far.”
Eastern Washington cut Gonzaga lead to 20-16 at 10:07 on 7-consecutive points by Ashenfelter.
A quick 8-0 run had the Bulldogs up by 12 with 7:54 to play. Greinacher began the run with a jumper, followed by layups by freshman Kiara Kurdon, Palmer and Albanez.
Gonzaga led 34-22 at halftime behind 11 points from Greinacher, who made 5-of-6 field goal attempts and 10 points from Palmer.
Eastern Washington cut Gonzaga’s lead to eight points twice in the first eight minutes of the second half, the final time coming at 43-35 after a jumper by Nelson.
After Nelson’s jumper, the Bulldogs strung together a 10-0 run to grab a 52-35 edge and ultimately a 14-2 spurt to earn their largest lead of the game at 19 points with 5:30 to play. Two free throws by Cheslek garnered the Zags the 56-37 advantage.
The closest the Eagles got down the stretch was 13 points with 59 ticks remaining in the game.
All 14 players saw action for Gonzaga, with 10 playing 10 or more minutes.
Gonzaga hits the road for the final time in non-conference play Friday. The Bulldogs play at Portland State at 7:30 p.m. The Zags then return home to host Cal State Fullerton Sunday at 2 p.m.