SPOKANE, Wash. – The Gonzaga Bulldogs had The Kennel rocking early and often on Saturday afternoon, as they remained in control of the early West Coast Conference slate with a 74-47 win over surging San Francisco.
The Zags led in 15 of the 16 statistical categories, and had control of the game after three quarters. Jessie Loera led the Zags with a career-high 15 points on six-of-eight shooting, and added a career-high nine assists to lead GU as well. She added four steals and was two-of-two from three. Jill Barta scored 14 and Emma Stach drilled three threes for 11 points. Zykera Rice added 10 and Chandler Smith was everywhere with 10 rebounds, five steals, and three blocks to lead GU in all three. Katie Campbell drilled two threes off the bench for GU.
The Zags held USF scoreless for an early six-minute stretch, as GU went on a 6-0 run to lead 16-7 after one quarter. GU started slow but made five-of-their-last-12 shots, led by Smith, Rice, and Jill Townsend who scored four each. USF shot 15 percent in the quarter, going one-of-five from three. Gonzaga led on the glass 16-10. Loera started with three assists.
After USF scored early in the second quarter, GU opened up a 13-0 run that lasted 5:20 led by a three-point play from Barta, and threes from Stach and Loera, who was up to five assists at that point. That made it 29-9 with four minutes left, and a three from Campbell, made it 39-13, with 1:15 left, the largest lead of the game in the first half. GU led 39-17 at the break. Barta led GU with 10 points, and Smith had four points and seven rebounds to lead the team. Loera scored seven with seven assists, the most in a half for a GU player this year. Smith added four steals, and GU shot 41.7 percent from the field, holding USF to 20.7 percent. The Zags had a great half from three, hitting four of their nine attempts. GU added 13 assists to only three from USF.
The Zags dominated the first seven minutes of the third quarter, building their lead up to 57-23 with three minutes left, their largest of the game at 34. Loera swiped three steals for two easy layups and Stach drilled two threes to pace GU. Gonzaga forced seven USF turnovers through that stretch for 12 points off turnovers. GU led 59-32 as USF chipped seven off in the final three minutes. USF never got any closer then 23 as Gonzaga played them square in the fourth quarter to win 74-47, matching their biggest conference margin this year and extending their winning streak to eight. Gonzaga shot 42 percent from the field, and held USF to 30 percent and 15 percent from three. The
Zags tied their season high with seven threes and forced 20 USF turnovers for 24 points. GU dished 20 assists and had 16 steals, tying their season high.
The Bulldogs dominated the rebounds, 50-37, and 17 offensive boards led to 15 second-chance points.
Gonzaga (13-4, 6-0) gets back on the road on Thursday to face Saint Mary’s, who are tied with BYU one game back of GU. Tip is at 6:30 pm and live links are available at GoZags.com.
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