Shoot, Zags show UI how its done
Gonzaga had already taken Idaho behind the woodshed in the first half of their women’s basketball game Friday night.
The Bulldogs were up 18 with the basketball as time was winding down when the Vandals tipped a pass to Courtney Vandersloot into backcourt. Vandersloot, who already had 10 points and nine assists, raced back for the ball, wheeled around and saw there wasn’t much chance to make anything happen.
The amazing All-American then seemed to go into slow motion, dribbling just inside halfcourt and letting a two-handed shot fly for the basket that gave the Bulldogs a 53-32 lead.
The only intrigue after that was whether Vandersloot would break Robin Allen’s single-game assist record (17), the only assist mark she doesn’t have. She didn’t, but it hardly mattered in the 93-62 win before 2,757 at McCarthey Athletic Center.
“She’s a Steve Nash,” Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. “That’s what I told our kids in practice. That’s my mistake. … I’m going to take the blame for that.”
Vandersloot finished with 18 points and 10 assists, five on GU’s first five baskets. Katelan Redmon had 23 points, scoring 10 straight to end a 14-5 run that bumped a three-point lead to 32-20. Idaho (6-3) cut that in half, but the Bulldogs (8-3) closed the half with a 15-0 surge with Kayla Standish, who finished with 21 points, getting six points and Vandersloot the last seven.
The Bulldogs shot 68.4 percent in the half, settling at 56.5 for the game.
“I thought offensively, the first half … unfortunately there are two ends of the floor,” Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said. “Defensively, we weren’t stellar in the first half. Offensively, we were about as good as you can get. That’s a team that’s top 20 in field-goal defense, 32 percent.”
“It was an unbelievable shooting display in the first half,” Newlee said.
“Gonzaga is a great team, but our players gave them too much respect, especially Vandersloot, who I think is the best point guard in America. For sure. Without a doubt.”
Derisa Taleni led Idaho with 16 points and Rachele Kloke had 14.