Even with a sloppy beginning, the No. 24 Gonzaga women’s basketball team gave up the fewest points in school history Saturday as it crushed visiting Colgate 81-31 in nonconference play.
The Zags’ length caused the Raiders (1-5) fits all afternoon as Gonzaga players altered shots and their long arms tipped dozens of passes, which led to fast-break points on the other end.
Coach Kelly Graves noted that the blowout came against a team averaging 73 points per game.
“I thought we did a really good job defensively,” Graves said. “In the second half, we turned those turnovers into points.”
The Bulldogs’ previous record for defensive stinginess was 35 points, set four times.
Lindsay Sherbert, a 6-foot junior who is listed as a guard but actually played center at one point in the game, led all scorers with 22 points after she went 4 for 5 on 3-pointers.
“It’s nice to see her have a breakout game for 3-pointers,” Graves said. “Again, she finds a way to get it done.”
The game started sloppily for both sides, with numerous turnovers. But senior guard Jazmine Redmon cleaned up the floor and scored four of GU’s first six points.
Both teams started so slowly that the game was only 10-2 some 10 minutes into the contest. But Sherbert started her scoring barrage and Gonzaga took off.
“I think it was bound to happen,” Sherbert said of her hot shooting. “It felt good that they were falling down. Everyone was getting hands on balls and that got us going offensively.”
Just more than 3 minutes before the half, a block by Gonzaga’s Sunny Greinacher started a Haiden Palmer fast break that ended with her layup to put Gonzaga up 30-13.
The half ended with Gonzaga (4-1) leading 32-13 in front of an announced crowd of 5,220. But the Zags outscored Colgate 49-18 the rest of the way.
“Early in the second half … that’s as good as we have played,” Graves said.
Palmer, who came into the game averaging 20 points a game, finished with11 points and a team-high 10 rebounds and five steals.
Kiara Kudron played well in the second half and scored nine points as the team overall shot 51.6 percent from the floor.
But the player who did the most damage in the second half was Greinacher, the 6-4 junior forward from Essen, Germany.
Graves sat Greinacher to start the second half, but she came off the bench on fire. During one stretch Greinacher had a rebound, a layup, an offensive rebound, two jumpers and a defensive rebound in consecutive plays.
“Sunny is skilled,” Graves said. “She can do so much. We need her to be aggressive. She has to give us scoring.”
Greinacher finished with 14 points and nine rebounds in just 16 minutes.
“It was about time,” Greinacher said. “I wasn’t doing anything in the first half.”