Kelly Graves looked over the final score sheet and pointed out what was missing.
“You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game where a team’s starters were held scoreless in the first half,” the Gonzaga women’s basketball coach said. “All of (Portland State’s) first-half scoring came from their bench.”
Of course, all of that first-half scoring in the Zags’ 96-47 win over the Vikings Friday night amounted to just 13 points.
Gonzaga held Portland State scoreless until Angela Misa hit a short jumper almost six minutes in, cutting into a 19-point run by the Bulldogs. The Vikings didn’t reach double figure scoring until there was 5:11 left in the half, and they did not score back-to-back baskets until well into the second half.
“I was happy with the defensive intensity at the start of the game,” he said. “This could have been a trap game for us. We could have been caught looking ahead. We leave in the morning and didn’t want them thinking about that until after the game. I told them not to pack until after.”
Ahead lies perhaps the season’s toughest stretch of games: at Ohio State Sunday, at Wisconsin Tuesday and at Stanford Saturday.
Beyond that, the Zags (6-1) have a home game with UC Riverside December 16 and at Washington State Dec. 21 for the final five non-conference games before opening West Coach Conference play after Christmas against Saint Mary’s, Pacific and Portland on the road.
“This is going to be a good stretch,” Graves said. “We’re good enough to go back there and win two games. I’m going to be disappointed if we don’t.”
Against the Vikings (2-4), the Zags disrupted the Portland State offense in the first half, forcing 14 turnovers while the Vikings often rushed shots and finished shooting 6 of 30 (20 percent) before intermission.
Portland State finished shooting 19 of 58 for the game (32.8 percent).
Keani Albanez led five Zags in double figures with 17 points, hitting 3 of 4 3-pointers. Haiden Palmer, debuting a faux hawk hairstyle, added 16 points.
Misa finished with 15 points to lead Portland State.