With the Gonzaga fan base in Boise, and with the game being within reasonable driving distance of Spokane, Taco Bell Arena was expected to feel more like a home game for the Zags. Instead, the arena was filled with mostly Boise State fans, who directed their cheers to whoever looked like the winners.
Just after Gonzaga’s 79-71 win over San Diego, the lights and cameras gravitated to Jill Barta, who had finished the game with a game-high 32 points and eight rebounds. She hid in the middle of her teammates as they celebrated their second consecutive West Coast Conference tournament title.
The Zags had plenty of celebrations to review after their 65-53 win over fifth-seeded San Francisco in the West Coast Conference semifinal on Monday – Emma Stach’s game-high four 3-pointers, Barta’s 3 that finally dropped in the fourth quarter, Jill Townsend’s three-point play near the end of the game and Chandler Smith’s steal and breakaway layup that tied the score at 20 are just a few.
In Saturday’s West Coast Conference quarterfinal showing in which top-seeded Gonzaga knocked off No. 7-seed LMU 83-69, the Lions at least had James Batemon back on the court and in the starting lineup.
It was a tough night for Gonzaga radio broadcaster Tom Hudson. But it could have been a slightly tougher night for Gonzaga fans attempting to follow along with Hudson as he tried to call Gonzaga’s quarterfinal showing on Saturday with a sore throat.
Jill Barta scored 19 of her 24 points in the first half to lead the Gonzaga Bulldogs (25-5) to an 81-70 win over the Pepperdine Waves (10-20) in the West Coast Conference Tournament quarterfinals at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Gonzaga needed all the luck it could get this season. Even before the season started, head coach Lisa Fortier was down a potential starter. Redshirt senior Emma Wolfram was out for the entire season after undergoing surgery for a recurring knee injury.