SPOKANE – Sophomore Shelby Cheslek and senior Haiden Palmer each recorded a double-double to help lead the Gonzaga University women’s basketball to an 86-51 victory over Pepperdine University Thursday night at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Palmer finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds and nearly picked up a triple-double with eight assists – a new career-high. Cheslek recorded 12 points and grabbed 12 boards – six offensive – for her third career double-double. It was the second time this season the Bulldogs had two players register double-doubles in a game.
As a team, Gonzaga had ten players score, 12 players register a rebound and nine passed out at least one assist.
Gonzaga head coach Kelly Graves believes the balanced attacked of the Bulldogs is what has them succeeding.
“That’s kind of been our M.O. the whole year,” stated Graves. “We don’t really every get anybody with huge numbers. There are a couple of outliers here and there, but for the most part we just get a lot of production from a lot of different players.”
Two other Zags cracked double-digits. Junior Lindsay Sherbert led all scorers with 19 points – sinking 7-of-11 from the floor, including 3-of-6 3-pointers, and hitting 2-of-5 from the charity stripe. Classmate Keani Albanez chipped in 13 points.
The Bulldogs finished the game shooting 46.3 percent (31-of-67) from the field and 70.8 percent (17-of-24) from the charity stripe. They were credited with 24 assists on the 31 made baskets, had 25 fast break points, tallied 30 points off the Waves 23 turnovers and outrebounded them 48-26.
“We did some good things, especially offensively,” said Graves. “We got out and ran, which was nice, and did a much better job in the second half on the offensive boards. It was a good win, it was a decisive win. We hit them early and hit them often.”
A total of four GU players passed out 3-plus assists, while four players also made 3-plus steals. Senior Jazmine Redmon had a game-high four steals, while Sherbert had the second-highest assist number with four – which tied a career-high.
Gonzaga held the 21-point halftime advantage at 45-24.
Palmer led the charge early for the Bulldogs, scoring her eight first half points in the opening five minutes. Back-to-back buckets from the guard – which capped off a 6-0 run – had the Zags up 15-7 at 14:58.
Sherbert closed out the opening stanza strong for GU, scoring her nine first half points in the final nine minutes. She hit a trey at 8:49 to put the lead at 27-16 and would rattle off six more points in the Bulldogs final 24-7 run.
Gonzaga continued its torrid paced in the second half. With less than eight minutes expelled in the final 20 minutes and the Bulldogs lead had ballooned to 30 points. Sophomore Elle Tinkle gave them the 30-point advantage, 64-34, with a fast break layup – off an assist by Sherbert – at the 13:24 mark.
Tinkle came off the bench to have a superb game, finishing with a season-tying high eight points, along with a career-high six rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
The Bulldogs largest lead came with 4:29 remaining in the game. Sophomore Chelsea Waters calmly sank two free throws to put their edge at 39, 86-47.
The 35-point win tied the second-largest margin of victory in West Coast Conference play this season for the Bulldogs. It also moved their record to 21-3 overall and 11-1 in league action.
Keitra Wallace and Amanda Lovely led Pepperdine with 13 points each. The Waves fell to 5-17 on the year and 1-10 in the WCC.
Gonzaga closes out a four-game homestand Saturday when it hosts Loyola Marymount University. The game is set for 2 p.m.