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Gonzaga women break into top 25

Gonzaga University's Emma Stach, Kiara Kudron (23) and Elle Tinkle,(31) right, cheer as their team continuesruns away from the University of California Irvine Anteaters on Nov. 13 at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Zags beat No. 11 Stanford last Friday and are now ranked No. 25 in the latest AP poll. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga University's Emma Stach, Kiara Kudron (23) and Elle Tinkle,(31) right, cheer as their team continuesruns away from the University of California Irvine Anteaters on Nov. 13 at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Zags beat No. 11 Stanford last Friday and are now ranked No. 25 in the latest AP poll. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Two years to the day when they last made the national polls, the Gonzaga women are back.

Three days after a landmark 68-63 win at Stanford, the Bulldogs were rewarded with a No. 25 ranking in Monday’s Associated Press media poll.

The Bulldogs didn’t notice. When the poll was released mid-morning, they were practicing ahead of this week’s three-game Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“I just hope it gives us more motivation,” coach Lisa Fortier said. “Hopefully it gives you a little more incentive to do well.”

“This shows that people recognize that we have potential,” Fortier said.

That potential was realized Friday night at No. 11 Stanford, a win that Fortier ranked as “close” to her biggest as a head coach.

It was GU’s first win in eight tries over the Cardinal, which lost at home for only the eighth time since 2007.

“They worked their tails off and stayed focused for the entire game,” Fortier. “We did a really good job of fighting through it when we were struggling and really playing together.”

Fortier said the scene in the Bulldogs’ lockerroom after the game was “like after an NCAA game,” and allowed that it probably took her players a day or two to move on.

The win produced another honor Monday, as sophomore forward Jill Barta was named West Coast Conference player of the week after shooting 8-for-10 from the field and scoring 26 points, her fourth-highest career total.

Elle Tinkle had 18 points, five rebounds, three assists, three blocks, and three steals.

“Everyone contributed,” Fortier said two hours before the Bulldogs (3-0) departed for the Caribbean and three straight games beginning Thursday against Michigan, No. 10 Florida State and Winthrop.

Beyond the record, Fortier said “I really like the way we’re shooting the ball and they way we’re relying on each other.”

Gonzaga’s next home game is Dec. 3 against Presbyterian.

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