Not more than a minute into her postgame interview following Gonzaga’s landslide victory on Thursday night, Kelly Bowen received a welcomed interruption.
She was informed that the BYU women’s basketball team was losing to the West Coast Conference’s last-place San Francisco Dons.
As the news spread through the McCarthey Athletic Center and the result became final, Bowen couldn’t help but channel a play from NFL star Tim Tebow’s book.
“God loves the Zags,” Bowen said.
On this night, the Kennel crowd of 5,529 loved Bowen, who finished with a career-high 19 points and nine rebounds in Gonzaga’s 87-55 blitzing of Santa Clara (10-16, 3-10).
Bowen surpassed her previous career high of 17 points, finishing 7 of 8 from the floor and 5 of 5 from the free-throw line.
She scored 12 of her 19 points in the first half, including eight as Gonzaga jumped out to a quick 23-6 lead.
The Bulldogs led 45-31 at halftime.
“I’m really happy for her because she needed a game like this and she’s capable of doing this,” Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said. “If we can get that kind of play and energy from her, we’re going to be really tough to beat.”
Senior Kayla Standish finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds to notch the double-double and Katelan Redmon added 11 points for the Bulldogs (23-4, 12-2), who suffered a 30-point loss at BYU a week ago that put their eighth straight WCC championship bid on the line.
The Zags are back in sole possession of first place in the WCC standings heading into Saturday’s home game against Pepperdine – a team that also beat BYU (22-5, 10-3).
Gonzaga hosts BYU on Feb. 25 in the Bulldogs’ regular-season finale.
“It just feels really good, we were obviously really disappointed last week when we lost by 30,” Bowen said. “We haven’t had a lot of games like this, so it’s good.
“The men found out their good news the other day that LMU beat Saint Mary’s, so now they’re in contention too. Like I said, God loves the Zags. It’s everything that BYU lost, but when we play them again, it’s going to be a bloodbath, regardless.”
Arizona 90, Washington State 51: At Tucson, Ariz., Erin Butler scored 21 points, leading four Arizona players in double figures, and the Wildcats snapped an eight-game losing streak in decisive fashion with a win over Washington State.
Davellyn White had 19 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for Arizona (14-12, 3-11 Pac-12). Aley Rohde had 13 points and Layana White scored 10 for the Wildcats, whose other starter, Shanita Arnold, contributed nine assists.
Brandi Thomas led Washington State (10-16, 4-10) with 14 points. Rosetta Adzasu had 10 points and five steals for the Cougars.
Arizona State 47, Washington 41: At Tempe, Ariz., Kali Bennett set a school record by blocking nine shots as Arizona State defeated Washington.
Olivia Major hit four 3-pointers among her career-high 14 points and Bennett scored 10 for the Sun Devils (17-8, 8-6 Pac-12), who swept the season series.
Bennett broke the previous record of seven blocked shots, which she had shared with Kym Hampton, who set it in 1981. Bennett also grabbed nine rebounds, leaving her one block and one rebound shy of a triple-double.
Regina Rogers had a double-double for the Huskies (13-11, 5-9) with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Northern Colorado 56, Eastern Washington 49: At Greeley, Colo., senior Brianne Ryan was the only Eagle in double figures, finishing with 16 points in the Bears’ victory over EWU.
Ryan, the leading scorer in the Big Sky Conference, has had 10 or more points in every game this season.
D’shara Strange led Northern Colorado (16-10, 8-5), which swept the regular-season series against the Eagles for the second-straight year, with 18 points.
EWU had won six straight games and hadn’t lost on the road this season prior to the game against the Bears.
The Eagles (16-10, 10-3) are second in the Big Sky Conference standings – a game and a half behind league-leading Idaho State (19-6, 11-1).
Fresno State 76, Idaho 68: At Fresno, Calif., Ganeaya Rogers scored a team-high 15 points and added three assists as the Vandals (8-18, 3-7) fell to Fresno State in Western Athletic Conference play.
KiKi Moore led the WAC-leading Bulldogs (21-4, 9-0) with 23 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and five steals.
North Idaho 49, Salt Lake 40: At Coeur d’Alene, Julia Salmio led all players with 14 points as the Cardinals (20-4, 9-2) beat the Bruins (14-10, 5-6) in a Scenic West Athletic Conference contest.