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Jill Barta leads Gonzaga women past BYU, 84-70

UPDATED: Sat., Feb. 3, 2018, 6:24 p.m.

PROVO, Utah – Jill Barta poured in 34 points and Gonzaga made it 14 straight wins with an 84-70 thumping of BYU on Saturday in Provo, Utah.

The victory snapped BYU’s 23-game home winning streak, which began after the Bulldogs defeated the Cougars in 2015.

“Our team played so tough tonight,” Gonzaga coach Lisa Fortier said. “We managed to maintain our composure through some BYU runs. We played great defense, on some really talented players. Jill had such a great game, and we received critical contributions from everyone.”

It didn’t take long for Gonzaga (19-4, 12-0) to assert command. The Bulldogs built a 15-5 lead with 4 minutes remaining in the first quarter and closed out the period with a 21-10 advantage while shooting 62 percent.

Although BYU (13-10, 8-4) scored the first five points of the second quarter, Gonzaga went on to lead 38-26 at halftime and 57-42 entering the fourth quarter.

Zykera Rice opened the fourth with a jumper to match GU’s largest lead of the game, then Emma Stach had a 3-pointer and a three-point play as the Bulldogs opened up their largest lead, 65-44. A 7-0 run helped BYU close to within 69-55 with 5 minutes remaining, but the Cougars posed no real threat.

“I want to give Gonzaga a lot of credit,” BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. “They played really well today, especially Barta. They are really hard to guard because they spread you out so well.”

Stach made WCC-leading scorer Cassie Devashrayee work hard for her 24 points on 8-of-19 shooting. Stach finished with a season-high 16 points, Chandler Smith added nine rebounds, seven assists and seven points, and Laura Stockton dished a season-high eight assists.

The Zags dominated the boards 45-29 and had 23 assists, two short of their season high. Gonzaga extended its lead in the WCC standings to four games over second-place BYU.

Gonzaga returns home to play Pacific on Thursday at 6 p.m.


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