LAS VEGAS – Gonzaga women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves has seen it all season. No reason to change now that the post-season has arrived.
The sources for Gonzaga’s offense change by the game and Friday in the WCC tournament quarterfinals it was Sunny Greinacher’s turn. And Jazmine Redmon’s, Lindsay Sherbert’s, Shelby Cheslek’s and eventually Haiden Palmer’s as the top-seeded Bulldogs defeated scrappy San Francisco 81-68 at the Orleans Arena.
Gonzaga (27-4) will face foruth-seeded Saint Mary’s in the semifinals at noon Monday. The Gaels erased a 17-point deficit to defeat San Diego 60-58 in their quarterfinal.
Palmer, Gonzaga’s leading scorer at 15.6 points per game, missed all four of her shots and reached halftime with zero points. The Bulldogs were still firmly in control, 38-27, with Greinacher and Redmon combining for 23 points.
“That’s been our M.O. all year, you just never know who,” Graves said. “Tonight was an exception. Five in double figures doesn’t happen very often for us. It’s nice to know if Haiden struggles a bit somebody else is going to step up.
“I was really proud of Haiden. She didn’t force it, she let it come to her and she had a really nice second half.”
The 6-foot-4 Greinacher was a handful inside and sprinkled in a few mid-range jumpers. She made 9 of 14 shots and finished with 22 points.
“We really had a nice balance inside-outside,” Greinacher said.
Redmon came up with a career-high 18 points. She missed one shot with 2 minutes remaining when the outcome was already determined. Redmon added five rebounds, four assists and three steals.
“It’s my senior year,” Redmon said. “I’m just going to leave it all on the court.”
Palmer scored all 13 of her points in the second half. She finished with four assists and three steals. Sherbert made three 3-pointers and contributed 17 points.
The eighth-seeded Dons (12-19), drubbed by a combined 63 points in two regular-season games against Gonzaga, stayed just close enough to keep it interesting. USF made 52.4 percent of its shots but still trailed by 11 at half.
“We didn’t give up for one second,” coach Jennifer Azzi said. “It was a huge improvement from the last time we played them at Gonzaga.”
Gonzaga’s lead dwindled to nine with 6:20 remaining but Palmer’s jumper started a clinching 7-0 run.
The Bulldogs finished with 36 points in the paint. Cheslek had 10 points and 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Gonzaga made 50 percent of its shots, 54.5 percent of its 3-pointers and 79 percent of its free throws.
Taylor Proctor, a 6-foot sophomore, led USF with 28 points and eight rebounds. Winston added 15 points.