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Zags women return home for two games

The Gonzaga women, tied for first place in the West Coast Conference with Saint Mary's, are set to play at home for the first time in two weeks. First up is Loyola Marymount on Thursday night, followed by Pepperdine on Saturday afternoon. Read story

Graves weighed in on other subjects during a media day at McCarthey on Wednesday.

As to whether the Bulldogs' inside players have improved enough to carry the team, Graves said they've made a step up, but GU is still a "guard-oriented team."

"We're certainly gettting good contributions on a more consistent basis from out inside players," he said. "I think that's why we're playing better. You look at the results and our scoring numbers are going up, and that's because we're starting to get some easy shots around the basket and shots in transition. ... But I told everybody we're going to continue to improve. There's a high ceiling for those post players and we're starting to see it."

Graves said he hasn't been too surprised by WCC results with the season near its halfway point. Gonzaga, Saint Mary's, BYU and San Diego are leading the pace, as he would have predicted. Graves probably wouldn't have predicted BYU's loss at San Francisco last Saturday, giving the Cougars two WCC losses heading in to tonight's home game against Saint Mary's.

"With this uneven schedule, it's kind of hard to tell who's where," said Graves, whose team is already finished with San Diego and will be done with Pepperdine after Saturday. "Saint Mary's has yet to play BYU. They've yet to go to San Diego. They haven't come here. It's hard to gauge. Normally by this time you can kind of tell what everybody has and is doing because you've played everybody once. But you have to throw that out. I like where we're at (tied for first place). That's really the only thing I'm concerned about."

As to what Gonzaga needs to focus on during the final nine games of the regular season, Graves quickly pointed to consistency and offensive power.

"This is the best defensive team I've had in a decade, there's no question about it," he said. "We've been consistent there. We're making it hard for teams to score. But offensively we're still struggling. Too many nights we're just a jump-shooting team. We have to get to the line more, we've got to make second-chance points a little better and do a better job in transition."

Graves also said he thinks senior guard Taelor Karr should be the WCC's player of the year.

"She's been terrific in all facets of the game," he said of Karr, who is averaging 10.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

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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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