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Gonzaga women head to Pepperdine for final road test of regular season

UPDATED: Fri., Feb. 16, 2018, 10:43 p.m.

Gonzaga  forward Jill Barta, who have averaged 17.6 ppg on the road, shoots  against Saint Mary’s Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018,  at the McCarthey Athletic Center. (James Snook / For The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Jill Barta, who have averaged 17.6 ppg on the road, shoots against Saint Mary’s Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, at the McCarthey Athletic Center. (James Snook / For The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga will continue its California road trip Saturday with a visit to Malibu to face the Pepperdine Waves in the Bulldogs’ final road game of the regular season.

The Zags are 10-1 on the road this season, their only loss coming in their season opener at Colorado State in Fort Collins. Since the loss, the Bulldogs have won 10 straight on their opponents’ home courts, the longest streak in coach Lisa Fortier’s career at Gonzaga.

It’s no wonder the Zags have excelled so much away from Spokane this season. They are shooting 43.7 percent from the field and have posted a plus-3.6 rebounding margin in their road games.

Their efforts in their opponents’ gyms are led by forwards Jill Barta and Zykera Rice, and guard Chandler Smith, all of whom are averaging double digits in road games this season. Barta is leading the way at 17.6 points per game.

In Malibu, Gonzaga will have another chance to put a stop to forward Yasmine Robinson-Bacote, who was held to six points on 1-for-7 shooting when the Zags downed Pepperdine 73-51 in Spokane in January.

Robinson-Bacote is third in the West Coast Conference at 18.2 points per game and is sixth in the conference with 7.6 rebounds. Robinson-Bacote has eight double-doubles this season and her 47.1 shooting percentage from the field is ninth best in the conference.

The Zags (21-5, 14-1 WCC) will also have to keep an eye on the perimeter for backup guard Paige Fecske, one of two Waves who scored in double digits against the Bulldogs last month. Fecske is coming off a 37-point night against LMU.

A win at Pepperdine (9-16, 5-10) would also help improve Gonzaga’s RPI after the Zags guaranteed themselves the top seed in next month’s WCC Tournament following a 75-69 win over LMU on Thursday. As of Friday, GU is 44th in the country in the RPI.

With three games left in the regular season, this matches the earliest Gonzaga has clinched the outright WCC title. It is Gonzaga’s 13th WCC title in the last 14 seasons and the 14th in program history.


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