SPOKANE, Wash. – Haiden Palmer scored a game-high 27 points and junior Lindsay Sherbert added 11 as the No. 15/20 Gonzaga University women’s basketball team used another strong all-around performance to defeat Loyola Marymount University 88-51 Saturday afternoon at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
“I thought we came out and played really well,” stated Gonzaga head coach Kelly Graves after the victory. “That team took us to overtime just two weeks ago, and to come out and do what we did right from the get-go said something about this team, about its character, determination and, I think, some vengeance.”
Loyola Marymount (7-16, 4-8 WCC) did take Gonzaga into overtime at Gersten Pavilion, Jan. 23 with the Bulldogs eventually earning the 91-82 overtime victory.
Gonzaga (22-3, 12-1 WCC) didn’t need overtime Saturday.
The pesky Bulldog defense came up big again, holding the Lions to just five field goals in the first 20 minutes and 19 for the game. Gonzaga also forced Loyola Marymount to turn the ball over 22 times and was credited with 17 steals – the third time this conference season it secured that many. The Zags were able to score 29 points off the Lion miscues.
“We put together a complete effort on both sides of the ball,” said Graves. “They struggled for every shot they got. I thought when we needed to we made stops, we got contributions from lots of different people, our offense flowed — only 10 turnovers tonight — so when you look at those kind of things, yeah, it was a great all-around effort.”
Gonzaga itself only turned the ball over 10 times; the lowest amount of turnovers in a conference game for the Bulldogs this season. Gonzaga also shot above 50 percent for the second time in three games, ending the contest hitting a smoking 50.8 percent (32-of-63) from the field. They were credit with 22 assists on their 32 field goals.
Palmer and Sherbert were two of 11 Zags to score in the 37-point victory. Palmer sank an efficient 10-of-15 from the floor, including 2-of-4 3-pointers, and 5-of-6 free throws for her game-high 27 points. Sherbert came off the bench to hit 4-of-8 field goals, three of which were from long-range.
“I thought the best thing about our four-game homestand is we got our offense right, and that is critical,” explained Graves. “We averaged 85, 90 points per game, maybe even more, on this four-game homestand. That’s what we need to do, getting out in transition. We are doing some really good stuff offensively.”
Along with 11 players scoring, 12 players grabbed a rebound, 10 had at least one assist and eight had at least one steal. Sophomore Shelby Cheslek led the game in rebounds with seven; Palmer led the team in assists with seven, and senior Jazmine Redmon led the charge in steals picking up four.
Gonzaga used two runs early in the first half to break open the contest. An 11-0 run spurred on by Palmer’s seven points had the Bulldogs leading 13-2 at 14:59. After LMU’s Hazel Ramirez banked in a 3-pointer at 14:26 – the Lions first field goal of the game – the Zags rattled off another 11-0 run to hold a 25-5 edge at the 11:25 mark. Sophomore Shaniqua Nilles capped off the run with a 3-pointer.
Gonzaga went on to put together another 9-0 run late in the half and held the 46-20 advantage at halftime.
Loyola Marymount finished the half hitting just 5-of-22 from the floor, including 3-of-7 from beyond the arc. Seven of the Lions 20 points came from the charity stripe.
Palmer ended the opening 20 minutes with 13 points and four of her seven assists.
The Bulldogs lead ballooned above 30 points a little more than two minutes into the final half as they scored seven quick points, including a 3-pointer by junior Keani Albanez that put the score at 53-22 and the lead at 31 with 18:18 on the clock.
Junior Danielle Walter’s jumper at the 10:36 mark gave Gonzaga the 40-point lead, while a 3-pointer by Palmer less than a minute late gave the Bulldogs their largest lead of the game at 43 points, 75-32.
The Lions were led by both Taylor Anderson’s 11 points and Emily Ben-Jumbo’s 10 points.