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Gonzaga women roll to 96-35 exhibition win over Northwest Christian

UPDATED: Sun., Nov. 5, 2017, 8:30 p.m.

Gonzaga’s Jill Barta is looking forward to the Bulldogs’ game in Montana, where she was a high school star. (James Snook / For The S-R)
Gonzaga’s Jill Barta is looking forward to the Bulldogs’ game in Montana, where she was a high school star. (James Snook / For The S-R)

Jenn Wirth’s first game as a Gonzaga Bulldog was so much fun, she wants to do it again. Tomorrow.

Coach Lisa Fortier wasn’t so sure.

“It was amazing being out there today,” said Wirth, a true freshman forward who scored a game-high 18 points Sunday in the Zags’ 96-35 exhibition win over visiting Northwest Christian.

“I knew going in it was going to be exciting, but I couldn’t imagine it would be like that,” said Wirth, who hit eight of 11 shots from the field and also had a game-high eight rebounds.

Actually, all the Zags had fun against the undersized Beacons, rolling to leads of 25-10 after one quarter and 51-24 at halftime. The second half was even more lopsided: 45-11.

For the game, GU shot 57 percent (35-for-69) from the field, held a 51-21 rebounding edge and outscored NWC 46 to 10 in the paint.

“We were trying to run and we were trying to rebound, and those are two things I thought we did pretty well,” Fortier said.

GU did everything well against the NAIA team from Eugene. The Bulldogs had 19 steals, blocked three shots and scored 21 points off turnovers.

The Bulldogs also had 12 points in transition while holding NCU to 0.

The 96 points were the most the Zags have scored in an exhibition since 2010.

“Hopefully we got the nerves out, and hopefully got the new players comfortable with what it’s going to be like,” Fortier said.

That was certainly true for Wirth, who said the pace of the college game was faster than she expected.

Other newcomers who saw action were Wirth’s twin sister LeeAnne (four points and five rebounds) and Okanogan product Jill Townsend (six points and seven boards).

The GU starters – Zykera Rice, Jill Barta, Laura Stckton, Emma Stach and Chandler Smith – each played about 20 minutes.

“We took great shots and played for each other,” Stach said.

However, Fortier is trained to spot the warts, and there were a few. With tougher games on tap next week at Colorado State and Montana, she’s hoped to see better offensive timing and fewer defensive breakdowns.

“We still have a lot to work on,” said Fortier, who has eight days to work out the kinks.

The Bulldogs will officially open their season on Nov. 13 at Colorado State. The next home game is Nov. 30 against Eastern Washington.


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