Sunny Greinacher’s basketball world has become a much brighter place in one week.
In the seven days since being held scoreless by No. 1-ranked Stanford, Greinacher has had two career games during Gonzaga wins.
The latest came Sunday afternoon, as Greinacher equaled the career-high effort she set Tuesday against Eastern Washington by scoring 16 points in just 18 minutes during an 83-44 nonconference win over Cal State Fullerton.
The 6-foot-4 sophomore forward scored 12 points in the first half, matched her career high just two minutes into the second half and sat out the final 14:10 after Gonzaga had taken a 26-point lead.
Greinacher, who shot 8 for 12 from the field, has 38 points in her last three games after scoring 43 in her first eight.
“It feels good to finally make some shots and have that inside force,” Greinacher said. “We had a little talk with the post players after the Stanford game. What (Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves) said then I think is really true. We have to improve the inside game to make the whole team better.”
“We talk in terms of five-tool players and (how) you have to have some, and she’s gotta be that player for us inside,” Graves said. “She has it in her and she’s starting to show it on a more consistent basis.”
Gonzaga (9-2) won its third consecutive game since a 69-41 spanking by Stanford on Dec. 2. Cal State Fullerton (2-7) lost its sixth consecutive game and fell to 0-3 against the Bulldogs.
The Titans stayed with Gonzaga for much of the first half despite the inside scoring of Greinacher and Shelby Cheslek. The 6-5 freshman had six of her eight points, six of her game-high seven rebounds and three of her game-high four blocked shots in the first half.
“The blocked shots I think really pump up the team and pump up the crowd,” Cheslek said.
The crowd also got a rush out of Chelsea Waters’ blind, behind-the-back assist to Greinacher for a 20-16 lead.
The Bulldogs put together a 7-0 run to end the half for a 40-29 lead.
The strong inside game of the first half opened up GU’s outside game for the second.
Gonzaga hit 6 of 12 on 3-pointers in the second half, including three by senior Taelor Karr during a 4 ½-minute sequence. Karr’s third 3-pointer, with 15:05 left, capped a 15-0 run for a 58-33 lead.
The Titans didn’t respond, even when Graves went to his bench. Gonzaga patched together another 15-0 run, ignited by Keani Albanez and Kiara Kudron, for a 78-40 lead.
“We got great production from the bench,” said Graves, who also praised freshman Shaniqua Nilles (West Valley High).
Speedy sophomore guard Shante Miles led the Titans with 18 points.