Gonzaga’s final margin of victory over San Francisco on Thursday, 96-61, certainly didn’t reflect such a rocky – and slightly scary – first half. It certainly didn’t reflect a consistent performance Gonzaga coach Mark Few expected from his No.1 team against the Dons.
If there’s one thing that has consistently defined the Zags this season, it’s the numbers. It’s safe to say the numbers have enhanced the whole Gonzaga experience this year and have kept the fans coming back to the Kennel week after week.
Rusty Namie was ready for Gonzaga to reach No. 1. His design was set and approved by the university. He had hired eight extra employees to work the printing machines at his T-shirt printing plant in Spokane Valley. A staggering $70,000 worth of supplies to make new shirts for Gonzaga fans had already been ordered, and it waited inside the walls of Namie’s business, Zome Design.
Gonzaga’s Zhane Templeton pulled back and tossed up her second shot of the game, her toes just beyond the arc. It seemed as though the entire arena held its breath, paused and watched the ball travel from Templeton’s hands to the bottom of the hoop. Then the Kennel erupted. It was Gonzaga's 16th 3-pointer of the night, the shot that broke the school record of 15 3s that the Zags had set earlier in the season against UC Irvine.
It was a two-man battle at the Kennel for the most points scored in eight minutes. Gonzaga’s top dog won. Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss outscored Olin Carter, San Diego’s top shooter of the night, in the first eight minutes of the Zags’ 79-43 rout of the Toreros on Thursday.
Gonzaga rallied from a cold-shooting first half and went on a in the second half to beat the Santa Clara Broncos 51-39 on Thursday night at the McCarthey Athletic Center in a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal at the WCC tournament.
It’s been a memorable start to the new year for the Zags. Gonzaga (13-4, 4-2) is riding a four-game winning streak in 2017 after falling to Pepperdine and Pacific in late Decemeber to start conference play with a disappointing 0-2 record.
The students were back stomping on the stands and dancing to the band’s version of Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” as they cheered on Gonzaga to an NCAA Division I-best 17-0 record.
Senior guard Elle Tinkle scored 16 points and sophomore Jill Barta added 10 to lead Gonzaga over the Portland Pilots 67-55 at the McCarthey Athletic Center on Saturday, giving the Zags their second straight win in conference play.
Whitworth learned just enough from losses to bounce back on Saturday night and beat the Linfield Wildcats 87-81. Saturday’s showing gave the Bucs their second feat in the NWC and their first win on their home court.
Kiara Kudron scored a game-high 14 points with 11 boards and Emma Stach followed with nine points as the Bulldogs shook off a rocky first half and beat the San Francisco Dons 61-46 at the McCarthey Athletic Center on Thursday night.
But even with 6,000 fans cheering on Gonzaga to a 92-62 victory over the Waves, there was something glaringly absent at the Kennel, of which the fans and the players took notice quickly. GU’s athletic director Mike Roth accredited it to one thing – no students.
For Emma Stach, a junior guard on Gonzaga’s basketball team, this time of year only reminds her how much she misses her family. Stach came to play for GU from her home in Germany two years ago, so time with her parents and siblings doesn’t come about too often.
Lisa Fortier is on a roll. The Gonzaga women’s basketball coach is off to her best start, 7-2, in her three seasons at Gonzaga, with an upset over then-No. 11 Stanford and her first victory over Washington State under her belt this season.