SPOKANE -- Redshirt sophomore Haiden Palmer scored 15 points and senior Katelan Redmon had 14 points to lead the Gonzaga University women's basketball team to a 66-40 victory over Pepperdine University Saturday afternoon at the McCarthey Athletic Center in front of a sold out crowd of 6,000. The 26-point victory secured the Bulldogs at least a share of their eighth-straight West Coast Conference regular season title. Gonzaga can win it outright with a victory over BYU next Saturday.
Coming off a game in which she scored just seven points, Palmer scored six of her 15 points in the Bulldogs crucial 22-0 run in the second half that turned a tight 34-34 ballgame into a 56-34 advantage with 3:43 remaining in the contest. Redmon went 5-of-6 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line to be the only other Zag in double-figure points.
Senior Kelly Bowen, who scored a career-high 19 points in Gonzaga's win over Santa Clara Thursday, set a new career high for rebounds in this game, grabbing 16, which also is a Bulldog single-game high this season. She also added nine points, seven of which came in that big run that spanned 9:17 in the final half.
Not to be outdone, junior Taelor Karr tied a career-high with 12 boards. The 12 rebounds is the first double-digit rebounding performance as a Zag by the 5-8 point guard as her other game of 12 was set as a player at Kansas State University.
"I wasn't happy at halftime and I wasn't happy for a good portion of the game," stated head coach Kelly Graves whose team was only up 22-20 at halftime. "But I loved the way we finished. That second half, we played as hard as I think we can play."
Jazmine Jackson and Skye Barnett were the only two Waves (12-13, 7-7 WCC) to score in double figures. Jackson led Pepperdine with 11 points and Barnett finished with 10.
Gonzaga (24-4, 13-2 WCC) hit just 9-of-30 (30.0 percent) in the first 20 minutes and had its top scorer held without a point. Senior Kayla Standish, averaging 15.6 points per game, didn't score a point in the first half and took just four shots.
The Bulldogs relied heavily on Palmer and Redmon who, combined, scored 16 of their 22 first half points. Palmer closed out the half for GU with a 5-point spurt that consisted of an offensive board and put back followed by a 3-pointer which gave Gonzaga the 22-17 edge.
Pepperdine's Kelsey Patrick drained a 3-pointer to close out the first half scoring and cut Gonzaga's lead to two at intermission.
The first seven minutes of the second half had two lead changes and two ties.
It was senior Shannon Reader that sparked the Bulldogs all-important 22-0 run. Reader, inserted into the lineup after Standish had to sit with four fouls, hit a baseline jumper at the 13:10 mark to break the 34-34 tie and begin that monster run. Reader finished with four points and two rebounds in that 9 minute spurt.
"I'm really, really happy for Shannon," stated Graves of the center. "She's a hard worker, great teammate, a leader. It was nice to see her step up in a game that we really needed her."
Pepperdine finally stopped the bleeding with 3:34 left in the contest with a 3-pointer by Lauren Bell.
Gonzaga's largest lead of the contest was 27 at 64-37 with 1:37 remaining. Sophomore Stephanie Golden gave them the lead sinking two free throws.
The Bulldogs close out the regular season when it hosts the Cougars at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25. The game is already sold out.