MOSCOW, Idaho — Normally, there wouldn’t be anything memorable about the way Gonzaga defeated Idaho 91-42 in a women’s basketball game Thursday night in Memorial Gym at Moscow, Idaho.
But the rout, ignited when Kayla Standish scored 11 of her 22 points in the Bulldogs’ 16-2 run that produced a 20-2 barely 6 minutes in, was the 300th of coach Kelly Graves’ career.
“It means I’m old and I’ve been blessed to have had great players. Isn’t that the recipe?” said Graves, who is in his 12th year at Gonzaga after three years at Big Bend Community College, a stint as an assistant at Portland three at Saint Mary’s. “It feels pretty good. … It only puts me 603 behind (Duke men’s) Coach (Mike) Krzyzewski and 700 and some behind (Tennessee women’s) Coach (Pat) Summitt, so obviously I have work to do.”
“We talked about it a little bit,” GU guard Haiden Palmer said. “He’s a very humble guy. He said it’s all about the players, but it’s great to get that for him.”
The Zags (2-1), who led at halftime before losing by 15 at fifth-ranked Stanford on Sunday, pushed the lead to 32 in the first half, which ended 48-22. Gonzaga had 15 assists on 18 baskets, while the Vandals had one assist in shooting 7 for 26 and committed 13 turnovers.
“It’s always nice to come back and play hard against a team after a loss like that,” Standish said. “We still have things to work on, but we did those things a lot better in this game than we did on Sunday.”
The second half, as expected, was a formality with the lead getting to 49 with more than 3 minutes remaining.
It didn’t help that the Vandals (1-2) were without two starters, promising freshman Krissy Karr and senior Ganeaya Rogers, with minor injuries. But Gonzaga has also had a couple of injuries, Danielle Walter with a concussion sustained in the season opener and Maiki Viela with a foot injury suffered in practice.
“We obviously missed those players. I told the eight that played, this is what we got,” Vandals coach Jon Newlee said. “(Ana) Overgaard dislocated her finger last night, and got her teeth knocked out (in the last game). In spurts we were OK, but if you relax against a team like that, that’s what happens.”
Graves used the occasion to keep working on combinations, starting his third different pair of guards as he rotates transfers Palmer, who had 11 points at halftime despite coming off the bench for the first time, and Taelor Karr with Jazmine Redmon. But he also found time to play all three together.
“The three seniors need to be on the court. They’re the ones that lead us,” Palmer said. “Between me, Jazz and TK, it’s whatever we need that game. We’re all good options, just kind of rotating right now, not really thinking about it too much.”
Palmer and Katelan Redmon finished with 14 points apiece and Karr had eight assists. The Bulldogs shot 35 of 78 (45 percent) with 28 assists, eight from Karr, and by the end had a 34-1 margin in points off turnovers, 15-0 in fast-break points and 32-3 in bench points as all 11 players scored.
“I thought we got everybody in, that was important,” Graves said. “Regardless of what the score is, you can always get something out of a game. I’m an ornery cuss, it doesn’t matter if we’re up 20 or down 20, as long as we do things out.”
Stacey Barr, a freshman from Australia, was the bright spot for the Vandals, who ended up shooting 28.6 percent with 26 turnovers, with 18 points.