Not more than a minute into her postgame interview following Gonzaga’s landslide victory on Thursday night, Kelly Bowen received a welcomed interruption.
She was informed that the BYU women’s basketball team was losing to the West Coast Conference’s last-place San Francisco Dons.
As the news spread through the McCarthey Athletic Center and the result became final, Bowen couldn’t help but channel a play from NFL star Tim Tebow’s book.
“God loves the Zags,” Bowen said.
On this night, the Kennel crowd of 5,529 loved Bowen, who finished with a career-high 19 points and nine rebounds in Gonzaga’s 87-55 blitzing of Santa Clara (10-16, 3-10).
Bowen surpassed her previous career high of 17 points, finishing 7 of 8 from the floor and 5 of 5 from the free-throw line.
She scored 12 of her 19 points in the first half, including eight as Gonzaga jumped out to a quick 23-6 lead.
The Bulldogs led 45-31 at halftime.
“I’m really happy for her because she needed a game like this and she’s capable of doing this,” Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said. “If we can get that kind of play and energy from her, we’re going to be really tough to beat.”
Senior Kayla Standish finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds to notch the double-double and Katelan Redmon added 11 points for the Bulldogs (23-4, 12-2), who suffered a 30-point loss at BYU a week ago that put their eighth straight WCC championship bid on the line.
The Zags are back in sole possession of first place in the WCC standings heading into Saturday’s home game against Pepperdine – a team that also beat BYU (22-5, 10-3).
Gonzaga hosts BYU on Feb. 25 in the Bulldogs’ regular-season finale.
“It just feels really good, we were obviously really disappointed last week when we lost by 30,” Bowen said. “We haven’t had a lot of games like this, so it’s good.
“The men found out their good news the other day that LMU beat Saint Mary’s, so now they’re in contention too. Like I said, God loves the Zags. It’s everything that BYU lost, but when we play them again, it’s going to be a bloodbath, regardless.”
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