Redmon’s turnaround helps Zags get back to Sweet 16
Katelan Redmon didn’t want how she played Saturday, especially on offense, to be the last thing her hometown fans remembered of her at Gonzaga University.
Redmon got into early foul trouble against Rutgers and sat much of the first half. The struggles, though, were game long as she finished with five points on 1-of-7 shooting, two rebounds and three turnovers in 18 minutes.
Redmon had the type of performance Gonzaga fans have been accustomed to Monday as the Bulldogs earned their third straight trip to the Sweet 16, holding off the University of Miami 65-54 before 5,824 at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
“It’s one of those things where you have to forget about it,” Redmon said. “We got the win so who cares how I played. I had to relax and just play basketball and take the emotion out of it and just remember it’s all for fun, that this could be my last game and go out there and play as hard as I possibly can. You don’t want to end on a bad note. You want to go out strong, she added.”
In the Lewis and Clark graduate’s final game in Spokane, Redmon went out in fine fashion. She finished with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting and hauled down eight rebounds.
“I struggled a little from the floor (Saturday) and I just had to continue to shoot the ball,” Redmon said. “I needed to make sure that I was blocking out consistently and really crashing. A lot of times I find myself leaking out a little bit too much. One of my main focuses was going to the boards and making sure I was crashing hard.”
The Bulldogs needed Redmon especially on the boards Monday. The taller Hurricanes had a 40-31 advantage with 5 minutes, 37 seconds remaining. But Gonzaga tightened the margin to three by game’s end.
A 3-pointer by Kelly Bowen gave Gonzaga the lead for good at 48-46 with 6:00 to go.
“We were making a lot of silly mistakes, allowing them to get too many good looks inside,” Redmon said. “We just needed to calm down and go back to the basics and the things that helped us be successful at the beginning. Once we started doing that we started to get our lead back up again.”
The Hurricanes’ length on the defensive end bothered the Bulldogs at times, Redmon said.
“I allowed it to bother me and I shouldn’t have,” she said. “I should have been able to go right around them, but I was playing right into their hands. I needed to play a little bit smarter. Toward the end of the game I played a little bit stronger and making stronger moves and not letting them block my shot.”
Redmon had three baskets and two free throws in the final 4:30.
The next step
Now 11th-seeded Gonzaga (28-5) takes on No. 2 seed Kentucky (27-6) Sunday at the University of Rhode Island in the Kingston Regional.
Gonzaga made it to the Elite Eight for the first time last year.
Redmon and sophomore transfer Haiden Palmer believe the Bulldogs can make another breakthrough next weekend.
“I really think we can do it,” Redmon said. “Kentucky’s a really good team, but I think we have all the potential to carry it on and get into the Final Four.”
Palmer, who had 15 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two assists, agreed.
“We have to play great and play hard, especially with our defensive intensity,” Palmer said. “We have to keep it going the entire 40 minutes and not have any letdowns.”
Meier a Zags’ fan
Miami coach Katie Meier hopes Gonzaga keeps the momentum going next weekend.
“Gonzaga did a fantastic job of not turning over the ball,” Meier said. “It wasn’t for lack of effort on our part by any means. They were very composed. I think (Gonzaga coach) Kelly Graves is one of the best coaches in the country. I’m happy for Gonzaga; they represent women’s basketball. I’m happy for this community and that crowd. It’s an awesome environment. I told them ‘just keep winning, just keep winning’ because I love that team.”
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