SPOKANE, Wash. – The Zags opened their season on Sunday afternoon in front of a rowdy and ready McCarthey Athletic Center crowd against Northwest Christian, winning 96-35 in exhibition action.
The Zags led on the defensive end, holding the Beacons to eight points in the third quarter and three points in the fourth quarter, and 25 percent shooting. GU recorded 19 steals, blocked three shots, and scored 21 points off turnovers. GU dominated on the glass as well, leading 51-21, with 21 offensive rebounds to score 24 second-chance points. They scored 46 points in the paint and 12 points in transition, holding NCU to 0.
Offensively, freshman Jenn Wirth led the Zags with 18 points and eight rebounds in her debut. Zykera Rice had 15 points and seven rebounds, and Jill Barta had 16 and seven. Chandler Smith and Laura Stockton joined them in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Stockton had eight assists to lead the team and Smith led with six swipes.
“It was amazing being out there today,” Jenn Wirth said. “Our practices prepared us well for today.”
As a team, GU shot 50 percent and made six threes and led wire-to-wire with 19 assists. The Zags started the game on a 10-2 run, and led 25-10 after the first quarter. GU added 10 more to that lead before half, leading 51-25 at the break. The Bulldogs were extremely impressive on defense in the second half, holding NCU to 11 total points, and scoring 45 points to win going away, 96-35.
“I liked the way we got after it on defensive end and on the glass today,” Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier said. “It was good job by us running and pushing tempo as well. Offensively, we will look to work on our timing a bit, but I am excited about this team.”
All active Gonzaga players played, 11 in total, with seven scoring six or more points and 10 grabbing rebounds. The 96 points were the most the Zags have scored in an exhibition since 2010.
The Bulldogs will officially open their season on Monday, November 13, at Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo. at 5 pm. Live links are available at GoZags.com.
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