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Brother of Gonzaga women’s basketball coach Lisa Fortier dies of complications from muscular dystrophy

UPDATED: Wed., March 13, 2019, 9:22 p.m.

Gonzaga Bulldogs head coach Lisa Fortier coaches her players between substitutions during the first half of a WCC women's final basketball game on Tuesday at The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs head coach Lisa Fortier coaches her players between substitutions during the first half of a WCC women's final basketball game on Tuesday at The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

LAS VEGAS – Hayden Mispley, the brother of Gonzaga women’s basketball coach Lisa Fortier, died Wednesday morning of complications from muscular dystrophy, the school said in a statement to staff and faculty.

Fortier had been with her brother since Tuesday afternoon when she was pulled from the Gonzaga bench in the fourth quarter of the Zags’ West Coast Conference championship game against BYU.

Athletic director Mike Roth pulled Fortier and her husband, assistant coach Craig Fortier, out of a timeout to inform them of the situation. Craig returned to the bench a few minutes later, but Roth said a car was waiting outside the Orleans Arena to take Lisa to a nearby hospital.

Lisa Fortier tweeted Wednesday night about the loss of her brother.

“Gods way is stronger than ours,” she wrote. “I don’t always like it but we have to deal with it. We are heartbroken that our time here with Hayden is done. We are overwhelmed by the love (heart emoji) & support. So grateful for our community. Thank you for continued prayers for my brother, parents, & family.”

Lisa Fortier was expected to return to Spokane late Wednesday night from Las Vegas. The rest of the team, along with her husband and their three children, flew back to Spokane earlier in the day accompanied by assistant coaches Jordan Green and Stacy Clinesmith.

“It’s an unfortunate situation but it does remind us that there are a lot bigger things than playing a basketball game,” Roth had said Tuesday.

The Zags lost the WCC title game to BYU, 82-68. Guards Laura Stockton and Jill Townsend also suffered leg injuries in GU’s semifinal win over Saint Mary’s on Monday.

However, the team already was assured of a berth in the NCAA Tournament, thanks to their 28-4 record and WCC regular-season championship.

They will learn their playoff seed and destination Monday.

“Please keep Lisa, her parents and family members in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” Gonzaga president Thayne McCulloh wrote in a statement sent to GU faculty announcing Mispley’s death.

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