We're sitting courtside at the McCarthey Athletic Center ready for tipoff between the Gonzaga women's basketball team and Rutgers in the opening round of the women's NCAA tournament. In case you missed it, here's an advance story on the long journey the Scarlet Knights took to Spokane.
The overview for the GU-Rugers game is below.
No. 6 RUTGERS
Coach: C. Vivian Stringer
Top scorers: April Sykes and Khadijah Rushdan, 13.0
Top rebounder: Monique Oliver, 7.4
Keys to victory: The Scarlet Knights will look to dictate the tempo of the game without speeding up or slowing down a speed they are comfortable with. Stringer will rely on her talented defense and its transition to handle that.
They’ll also need to force turnovers against a Gonzaga team that moves the ball with precision and scores a lot of points if given enough space.
Stringer compared Gonzaga to a “smaller version of Connecticut” in that the Zags move the ball and read each other well on the court, so the Scarlet Knights will need to force Gonzaga to play a style they aren’t used to.
No. 11 GONZAGA
Coach: Kelly Graves
Top scorer: Kayla Standish, 15.5
Top rebounder: Standish, 8.3
Keys to victory: Just like Rutgers, Gonzaga needs to maintain the style they’ve displayed when playing their best this season.
In looking at the season as a whole, however, the Zags haven’t played with a set tempo. That could benefit them as they’ve won games in different ways all season.
With an offense that scores 75.5 points a game – the eighth most in the nation – the Bulldogs do need to avoid being trapped full court by Rutgers and make sure all five players on the floor are helping each other find enough space to attack.