Gonzaga's women took over first place alone in the West Coast Conference on Thursday night with a 79-57 win over Loyola Marymount at McCarthey Athletic Center. Sophomore Sunny Greinacher led the way for the Bulldogs with a career-high 21 points, including 17 in the second half. Read story See picture story
Graves complimented his team on keeping tabs on Lions senior guard/forward Alex Cowling, who has averaged 15.9 ppg this season and has scored 2,057 career points. Cowling finished 3 for 9 from the field and scored 12 points.
The WCC's career scoring leader is former Bulldog Heather Bowman (2,165).
“(Cowling) worked for everything she had tonight,” Graves said.
“She was our No. 1 priority,” Greinacher said. “Our game plan was to contain her.”
Graves continues to call his defense the best he's had at Gonzaga.
“(The Lions) are one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the conference and we only gave them nine offensive rebounds,” Graves said. “(LMU had) 17 steals, we turned them over a lot (23), so I thought by and large we really had a good game tonight.”
Gonzaga finished 7-1 in January, with its lone setback a three-point loss at Saint Mary's.
“We've really progressed well,” Graves said. “I'm really pleased with where we're at. All the questions I had at the beginning of the year were legitimate and yet I think we're starting to answer them.”
Graves addressed the media just moments after BYU defeated Saint Mary's (6-2 WCC) to knock the Gaels out of a first-place tie with Gonzaga with the conference season at its halfway point. Graves didn't want to dwell on the fact that GU controls its destiny as it aims for a ninth consecutive WCC title.
“Honestly, I couldn't care less,” he said. “I'm glad we won tonight. … The one thing I think we've always done well here is we never look past. We only worry about ourselves and who we play next.”
For the record, the Bulldogs host Saint Mary's on Feb. 14 and play at BYU (5-2 WCC) on Feb. 23.
GU will host last-place Pepperdine at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Bulldogs beat the Waves on the road last week 80-46.
“The tendency is to relax a little bit and my job as a coach is to make sure we don't,” Graves said. “Pepperdine will come in here with nothing to lose and teams with nothing to lose are dangerous teams.”