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Wed., Feb. 27, 2013, 6:39 p.m.

Gonzaga women will close out regular season

Gonzaga is on a roll, with 12 consecutive wins, a ninth consecutive West Coast Conference title and the No. 1 seed to the WCC tournament. The Bulldogs will cap their regular season at home Thursday against Portland. Read story:

Graves said the team's ninth consecutive WCC title reflected a "culture of winning."

"We’ve been blessed to have tremendous players over the years," he said. "I think nine in a row also says that it’s not just one group, it’s been several groups and not just one fantastic set of players."

The title wasn't a given, as BYU was the narrow choice to unseat GU in the preseason coaches' poll.

"I thought we had a good enough team to be able to compete for a championship, but the reality is I thought we were really going to have to improve to do so, and we have," Graves said. "I thought if you were going to get the Zags, this was the year to get them."

Before WCC play began, Graves said he would take his roster over any other in the WCC.

"I knew what I had," he said. "I think people saw what we had early, but they felt the same way: 'This is a team that’s going to take some time,' and they jelled quicker than I thought they would."

The Bulldogs are 119-10 in conference games during their nine-year run.

"I feel right when conference started is when we started clicking and playing well," Redmon said.

"It was kind of the snowball effect," Palmer said. "Every win, we just kept getting more confident and now it’s like we’re going into games expecting to win and no fear of losing, really. I’ve noticed that when teams start coming back on us … no one seems too worried. We just have to make plays and kind of get back in the game."

One big eye-opener has been sophomore center Stephanie Golden, who was averaging 4.6 points per game when she scored 13 against Saint Mary's, 14 against San Francisco and 16 against BYU.

"Over the summer when we play pick-up games, (Golden is) unstoppable," Palmer said. "I just think it’s her first year of getting lots of minutes to play and she just had to get a feel for the game, be a little more confident in herself. ... I think from here on out she’ll keep that same confidence."




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Chris Derrick
Chris Derrick joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. He currently is a copy editor for the Sports Desk.

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