Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves was pleased, and Portland State coach Sherri Murrell was impressed.
Senior stars Katelan Redmon and Kayla Standish combined for an early 18 points as the Bulldogs raced to a 27-6 lead and then cruised to a 99-69 win over the Vikings before 4,025 fans at the McCarthey Athletic Center on Sunday afternoon.
“Wanted to get it in early and often, that was our whole game plan,” Graves said. “We sure did early, that kind of set the tone. They just didn’t have much of an answer for that.”
Redmon became the 18th Zag with 1,000 career points, not including the 366 she had as a freshman when she was the leading scorer at Washington.
The trouble for the Vikings really wasn’t the dynamic All-West Coast Conference duo of the 6-3 Standish and 6-1 Redmon, who combined for 47 points on 19 of 25 shooting. It was the fact there really wasn’t a dropoff when they rested.
Stephanie Golden, a 6-3 sophomore, and 6-4 freshman Sunny Greinacher each added 10 points, a career high for both.
“Redmon and Standish, they’re great,” Murrell said. “The high-low game worked for them. We just didn’t have an answer for them. We tried different things. Then they reload.”
All those numbers point to a dominating game for the Bulldogs (3-1), who play at Washington State on Wednesday. The Zags had 29 assists on 40 baskets, despite making just 1 of 11 3-pointers, and scored 30 points off 18 PSU turnovers.
Though Graves said allowing 19 offensive rebounds and poor long-range shooting could come back to haunt them, he was pleased his team shot 60 percent and limited the Vikings (2-3) to 3 of 19 from behind the arc and 36 percent overall.
“I liked our energy throughout, we ran a lot of people in and out, a lot of people played good minutes and had big nights,” Graves said. “That’s what you look for in a game like this.”
Though the trio of Jazmine Redmon, Taelor Karr and Haiden Palmer, who have been sharing the two starting spots at guard, combined for just eight points, Redmon and Karr had six assists apiece and Palmer six steals.
So what happens? Another freshman, guard Keani Albanez, hit 5 of 6 shots for 12 points to go with five rebounds and four assists off the bench.
“I feel like I can bring a lot of energy,” the 5-10 guard from Santa Barbara, Calif., said. “I’ve done that before, where I think about how many points I’m going to score. Obviously that’s too much pressure. … I have to let it come to me. I notice if I get on defense, bring energy to my team and not worry about myself it will come.”
Graves said: “I think she showed glimpses of how good she is. She has energy plus. If she can just kind of rein that in and play with some discipline, she’s going to be a good player. … She goes 100 miles an hour even when 65 is enough.”
Golden said she usually asks the coaches what she should concentrate on each game and it’s usually rebounding and defense, though sometimes she just sits back and enjoys watching Standish and Redmon.
“I take it as a learning experience to play behind such good players,” she said. “The fact I’m playing them every day is only going to benefit me. I just use that to my advantage.”
Graves appreciates her instant offense.
“Steph doesn’t waste her time, does she?” he said. “That’s what we want her to do. We give her the green light. She’s got to continue to get better on the boards, get better defensively. The makings are there to be a very good player.”
The Vikings had three starting guards in double figures – Kate Lanz with 21, Courtney VanBrocklin with 16 and Eryn Jones with 11, but only Lanz shot better than 50 percent.
“We don’t have to go through those guys to win a championship in our conference,” Murrell said. “We wanted to play this team to see some things about ourselves and get a shot. There were some good things. This was a character builder.”