Kelly Graves looked over the final score sheet and pointed out what was missing.
“You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game where a team’s starters were held scoreless in the first half,” the Gonzaga women’s basketball coach said. “All of (Portland State’s) first-half scoring came from their bench.”
Of course, all of that first-half scoring in the Zags’ 96-47 win over the Vikings Friday night amounted to just 13 points.
Gonzaga held Portland State scoreless until Angela Misa hit a short jumper almost six minutes in, cutting into a 19-point run by the Bulldogs. The Vikings didn’t reach double figure scoring until there was 5:11 left in the half, and they did not score back-to-back baskets until well into the second half.
“I was happy with the defensive intensity at the start of the game,” he said. “This could have been a trap game for us. We could have been caught looking ahead. We leave in the morning and didn’t want them thinking about that until after the game. I told them not to pack until after.”
Ahead lies perhaps the season’s toughest stretch of games: at Ohio State Sunday, at Wisconsin Tuesday and at Stanford Saturday.
Beyond that, the Zags (6-1) have a home game with UC Riverside December 16 and at Washington State Dec. 21 for the final five non-conference games before opening West Coach Conference play after Christmas against Saint Mary’s, Pacific and Portland on the road.
“This is going to be a good stretch,” Graves said. “We’re good enough to go back there and win two games. I’m going to be disappointed if we don’t.”
Against the Vikings (2-4), the Zags disrupted the Portland State offense in the first half, forcing 14 turnovers while the Vikings often rushed shots and finished shooting 6 of 30 (20 percent) before intermission.
Portland State finished shooting 19 of 58 for the game (32.8 percent).
Keani Albanez led five Zags in double figures with 17 points, hitting 3 of 4 3-pointers. Haiden Palmer, debuting a faux hawk hairstyle, added 16 points.
Misa finished with 15 points to lead Portland State.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.