After the Gonzaga women’s basketball team’s one-point loss to Washington State last week, the Bulldogs went on the road and pounded Wyoming on Friday.
The team then turned around and got shut down Monday by an undefeated Northwestern team in a 62-43 road loss. That puts the Zags at 6-4, but coach Lisa Fortier finally got some good news as she announced Tuesday that senior forward Lindsay Sherbert should return from a knee injury sometime during conference play.
“She’s working on getting it stronger and some rest,” Fortier said.
Sherbert was averaging 10.8 points and 5 rebounds a game before she hurt the knee in the loss to Iowa on Nov. 29. Afterward, she wore a brace that completely immobilized her leg.
It’s not known when Sherbert will be able to return, Fortier said, “but she will not need surgery or anything. You never like to see an injury, especially not for a senior.”
Fortier earlier said the team had been missing Sherbert’s leadership and outside shooting.
Gonzaga now prepares for a home game on Saturday against 5-1 Southern Utah, which has an earlier win over 7-3 Boise State. Last year, Southern Utah finished 23-10 and clinched a share of the Big Sky Conference title.
“They are a good team,” Fortier said. “They are long like us. They can shoot it from outside and they like to run.”
That’s exactly been Gonzaga’s script during its run of success prior to this season.
The weekend game against the Thunderbirds is the last tuneup contest before Gonzaga opens West Coast Conference play on Dec. 27 at home against BYU.
“That’s what the non-conference schedule is for, to try to work some of those kinks out and get ready for conference play,” Fortier said.
Hurting but happy
Washington State coach June Daugherty’s team has had a week to enjoy the victory over Gonzaga and try to get junior guard Lia Galdeira healthy.
Galdeira sprained an ankle when GU’s Sunny Greinacher fell on her leg during a scrum for a loose ball with just seconds remaining. Despite the pain, Galdeira limped out onto the court and hit two free throws that turned out to be the game-winning points in the 59-58 victory.
“She is just a gutsy, gutsy warrior,” Daugherty said of Galdeira. “Right now, she’s day-to-day with treatments. Fortunately, she didn’t break it and it’s not a high-ankle sprain. But it’s the first time she has sprained her ankle.”
The 11-day break between Gonzaga and the Saturday game against Montana State was designed to help the players get through final exams.
“We are excited about being 7-2 but we are not anywhere, by any stretch of the imagination, where we need to be as a basketball team,” Daugherty said.
After the Saturday home game against the Bobcats, the Cougs go on the road to play at Loyola Marymount on Dec. 22 before another 12-day break.
“We try very hard to give our kids time to get home for the holidays,” Daugherty said. “It’s a good time for them to kind of get away … so they come back a little bit more fresh and ready to go for the Pac-12 race.”
Eastern’s Nelson climbs list
After Elle Tinkle’s last-second buzzer-beater for Gonzaga to beat Eastern Washington 61-60 on Dec. 3, the Eagles responded by pounding Saint Martin’s 69-39 on Dec. 12.
The Eagles then went on the road Sunday and got handled 90-72 by aforementioned Boise State. Despite the loss, senior guard Lexie Nelson scored 19 points that moved her to 11th place all-time on the career scoring list with 1,066 points.
At 4-4 this season, the Eagles get another test at home tonight when 2-7 Portland visits Reese Court. Junior Hayley Hodgins will try to extend her double-digit scoring streak to eight games.
Vandals trip up
Following the theme of up-and-down teams, Idaho followed a loss last week to No. 9 Baylor with a road loss at Toledo on Saturday.
A day later, Idaho beat Southeast Missouri State 78-62 at Toledo to get its record up to 5-5.
The Vandals play Lewis-Clark State College at home on Saturday in their final game before they rejoin the Big Sky.
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