Junior guard Haiden Palmer scored 17 points, four shy of her season high, to lead three players in double figures Saturday in Gonzaga's easy win over Santa Clara at McCarthey Athletic Center. Read story
Palmer said she doesn't feel any specific pressure to ignite Gonzaga's offense.
“We all just have a big name (Gonzaga) to live up to here and we just want to keep that legacy going.”
Gonzaga's record is 12-4, but with a few breaks the Bulldogs could be 14-2. The nonconference home losses to Ohio State (by five points) and Washington State (six) were both competitive games that the Bulldogs feel they let get away.
“We had a rough couple of games going right before conference,” Palmer said. “I think these last two games really lifted our spirits up and we're starting to play like the team we should be.”
Gonzaga's first WCC road game is Thursday at Saint Mary's, which improved to 2-0 in the conference Saturday by holding off Loyola Marymount in overtime.
Graves pointed out that the Bulldogs have had only one true road game (Dec. 7 at Portland State) since an early-November swing to UC Riverside and USC. Their other trip was to a tournament in Mexico.
“We've had some success on the road,” Graves said. “I always feel that road trips are good for a team. You can bond a little bit. It's just you. You don't have the fan support. That can be really valuable. And we'll have to play well because Saint Mary's is obviously a really good team.”
Graves had kind words for the way Jazmine Redmon is running the offense while playing point guard and the excellent first two WCC games Taelor Karr had, hitting 11 of 13 3-point attempts.
“Taelor Karr had a weekend like we thought she could have,” Graves said. “If we can continue to get that effort from her, wow, that just makes us doubly tough to defend.”
Graves is good friends with Santa Clara fifth-year coach Jennifer Mountain, the former GU player and assistant coach.
“Jennifer know that they had to play well to have beaten us here,” Graves said. “They did a good job on this trip. They came up and got a (win) at Portland. … We talk all the time and I know she likes her team.”
Gonzaga has won eight consecutive conference games at home, dating back to last season. The Bulldogs have also won 29 of their last 31 conference home games.