Gonzaga primed for No. 1 Stanford

Games against Stanford have been a highlight of Gonzaga's women's basketball schedule for four years. This year's game is infused with extra spice because Stanford comes to Spokane on Sunday as the top-ranked team in the Associated Press poll. Read more

Gonzaga junior guard Jazmine Redmon has played against Stanford three times. She said nerves got to her a bit two years ago, as a freshman, but she's more confident now.

"I just have to keep my nerves low, go out there and give it all I've got and play my heart out," said the Mead High graduate.

Redmon said Gonzaga's strategy remains the same despite the rival.

"We go out and play each opponent the same way," she said. "You just have to give it your all."

Redmon (5-foot-9) often draws the toughest defensive assignments and has to use other talents to make up for any size disparity.

"I'm usually on the shorter end of the stem right there," Redmon said. "I just have to use my quickness and not get into foul trouble."

Redmon's sister, Jade, just signed a letter of intent to play at Eastern Washington. Gonzaga hosts Eastern Washington on Tuesday.

Bulldogs coach Kelly Graves is hoping GU supporters bring the noise against the Cardinal.

"A couple of years ago, when we played (Stanford) in the Elite Eight at the Arena, one of the things I said before the game was, 'Let's keep the game close enough to where in the end the crowd can be a factor,' '' Graves said.

Graves' response on whether playing Stanford four times in the last three seasons will help GU on Sunday: "It's not going to help us win the game. The execution on the court will. But anytime you're familiar with the opponent, in terms of when they're a more storied program, perhaps ... we're not in awe, because we've played them before, so we know what to expect and things like that, and we know we're capable of beating anybody on any given day."

Gonzaga has had nine days off after playing five games in seven days. Graves said the team's first practice after returning from a three-game tournament in Mexico was "horrible." But he said the week-plus off helped the team focus on fundamentals.

Gonzaga has never hosted a No. 1 team before, but that's almost to be expected, Graves said.

"Let's face it, in women's basketball you're only talking a couple of options at No. 1," he said.

As for the continuation of the Stanford-Gonzaga series, Graves is hopeful.

We've already talked about the series continuing," he said. "As far out as we can see, both sides want to keep it going. Because over the last four to five years, we've clearly been the best two teams on the West Coast, and so, we should play. And they love coming up here and playing in this environment, and this helps them get better."

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Chris Derrick
Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.




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