They won’t all be this easy, and the Gonzaga players know that.
The Bulldogs’ 86-31 exhibition win over Corban was about getting all the parts moving in the same direction – and a little faster than last year.
Coach Lisa Fortier’s team checked those boxes and several more Friday night in front of a three-quarters-full McCarthey Athletic Center.
“It was an all-around good game,” Fortier said. “The coaches will pick it apart, but it was a pretty good job.”
Most of all, the Bulldogs thrived on the defensive end, forcing 27 turnovers and turning most of them into points.
“I liked our overall intensity in creating offense from our defense,” said Fortier, who’s wants to see the ball move upcourt faster this year.
Sophomore forward Jill Barta – GU’s leading scorer last year – picked up where she left off, scoring a game-high 21 points. Barta scored eight of the game’s first 10 points and fed Kiara Kudron for the other bucket as the Bulldogs were up 10-0.
“I love getting her the ball,” said Laura Stockton, the starter at point guard, who had five assists along with 10 points and three steals.
The first half was one-sided from the start against the outmanned Warriors, an NAIA team from Salem. GU led 25-11 after a quarter and 41-21 at intermission.
According to Fortier, the only flaw was a lack of defensive intensity in the second quarter. That was redressed after halftime, as GU outscored the Warriors 27-3 in the third quarter to go up 68-24.
GU dominated in every category, shooting 50 percent from the field (35 of 70) while outrebounding Corban 47-23 and getting 15 steals.
Forwards Kiara Kudron and Zykera Rice were almost unstoppable in the paint, shooting a combined 12 for 16. Kudron also had a game-high 10 rebounds.
With that kind of dominance, Fortier was able to go to her bench early and often. Twelve players saw action, all but one of them playing double-digit minutes.
“I think that if we want to be a special team, we want to make sure there’s no letdown (from the bench),” Fortier said.
There wasn’t: Rice had 10 points and four boards in just 19 minutes, and freshman point guard Jesse Loera from Moses Lake had three assists and shot 3 for 5 from the field.
Tougher tests loom next weekend, with back-to-back home games on Nov. 11 and 12 against Nicholls State and UC Irvine.
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