Anyone who questioned Gonzaga’s offense in general and its inside offense specifically might want to rethink those positions.
The Bulldogs received 60 points from their inside players Saturday afternoon and reached a season high for points during a 101-65 victory over San Francisco witnessed by the sixth sold-out crowd at McCarthey Athletic Center this season.
Sophomore forward Sunny Greinacher led the way with 15 points, but junior center Stephanie Golden came off the bench to score a season-high 14, eclipsing the 13 she scored Thursday against Saint Mary’s. Freshman reserve guard/forward Chelsea Waters scored a career-high nine and freshman Shelby Cheslek added eight points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Gonzaga shot a season-best 55 percent (44 for 80) from the field and reached triple figures for the first time since November 2011, against Hofstra.
“My goodness, we were so offensively challenged early in the season, we couldn’t make anything inside,” Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said. “So I just really think we still have a high ceiling. We can still get better.”
“Today was our best inside game,” Greinacher said. “Every post that came in did a great job.”
Gonzaga (22-5, 12-1 West Coast Conference) won its 10th consecutive game to maintain its 2 ½-game conference lead. Gonzaga also had a 10-game winning streak last season.
San Francisco (10-16, 3-10) lost its 15th consecutive game against Gonzaga.
The Bulldogs will close out the regular season Thursday at Santa Clara, Saturday at second-place BYU and Feb. 28 at home against Portland. The WCC tournament is March 6-11 at Las Vegas.
GU never trailed after Greinacher’s jumper for a 4-2 lead. USF hung around for 4 minutes, but Golden’s three baskets highlighted a 15-1 run for a 23-7 advantage.
Golden added three baskets during the closing minutes of the first half, giving her 12 points and pushing GU’s lead to as much as 24.
The Bulldogs opened the second half with a 9-0 run and started a 12-0 run with 14:17 left on Greinacher’s offensive rebound and putback.
Golden would have matched or surpassed her career high (15), but she went 0 for 3 from the free-throw line.
“I think I just got my mojo back,” said Golden, who started GU’s first eight games of the season before Cheslek took over. “I’ve really been working on playing confidently and assertively at practice and I think it’s just been carrying over to the games.”
“We knew (Golden) had it in her,” Graves said. “I think she’s just playing with a lot of confidence and looks like she’s having a lot of fun. To get that kind of effort from her, we just become a lot better.”
The honor of reaching triple digits went to sophomore Danielle Walter, who hit a 3-pointer with 27 seconds left.
All 14 Bulldogs scored and had at least one rebound. All but one played at least 10 minutes.
“You’re not going to see that on any stat sheet in America today,” Graves said.