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Gonzaga Women's Basketball
Sports >  Gonzaga women

GU women rout San Diego

The Gonzaga women’s basketball team rode a career shooting night from Elle Tinkle all the way to a convincing 67-49 win Monday night over conference rival San Diego. After a four-loss preseason, the Bulldogs have started conference play with wins over two teams voted by coaches as the most likely to challenge them for the West Coast Conference championship. “I think it sends a message to the rest of the conference that we are ready to play,” junior center Shelby Cheslek said. The Bulldogs (9-4, 2-0 WCC) started the game hitting on all cylinders and the Toreros (10-2, 1-1) looked like they were stuck in cement. Tinkle, a 6-foot-2 junior guard, actually outscored San Diego, which had just 14 first-half points. Tinkle had 15. For the game, Tinkle hit 5-of-6 3-pointers en route to a 26-point night to lead all scorers in front of 5,279 fans at McCarthey Athletic Center. Tinkle’s previous career high was the 15 she scored Saturday in the 78-62 win over BYU. “It’s just one of those things. You hit a couple shots and the hoop starts to look big,” Tinkle said. “It was a fun game. We were all pretty hyped up.” Gonzaga came out blazing and raced to a 10-0 lead after Tinkle hit her first 3 and two shots from the line. Gonzaga eventually pushed the lead to 30 and San Diego’s score didn’t hit double figures until 3:30 left in the first half. Coach Lisa Fortier said she was most pleased with how the Bulldogs defended. Gonzaga held the Toreros to 5-of-27 shooting (18.5 percent), including 0-of-5 from 3-point range in the first half. For the game, the Toreros shot 29.7 percent and hit only 1-of-12 from beyond the arc. “Tonight we overcame their pressure, and overcame ourselves at points, to come out with a victory,” Fortier said. “We took their top two scorers out of their comfort zones.” Senior forward Sophia Ederaine led the Toreros with 13 points and 11 rebounds. But leading scorers Malina and Maya Hood combined for only 9 points, more than 22 below their season averages. “We came out with a lot of energy and passion. It’s good to see our team starting to gel,” Fortier said. “I’m just happy with our weekend.” Fortier praised the play of Tinkle, who has started every game since senior Lindsay Sherbert went down with a knee injury in the loss to Iowa. Tinkle “is critical to our team,” Fortier said. “The way she has been playing offensively really has given us a lift.” Asked what she told Tinkle at halftime, Fortier replied: “I didn’t want to talk to her because I didn’t want to jinx her.” Cheslek, a 6-5 junior center from Pullman, had eight points, 14 rebounds and her third black eye of the season. Redshirt freshman center Emma Wolfram, who is also 6-5, finished with 10 points, three rebounds and three blocked shots. “This is definitely a big win for us,” said Wolfram, of Kamloops, British Columbia. “To come out with two big wins this week against two of the top teams in the league is very important for us.” San Diego was able to make a run at the end of the game, but simply ran out of time. The Toreros outscored Gonzaga 35-26 in the second half and eventually cut Gonzaga’s 33-point lead to 17 points. “They were just relentless,” Fortier said of the Toreros. “There are definitely going to be some teachable clips when we review the video.” Tinkle said she’s proud of how her team responded to San Diego’s pressure on the Gonzaga guards. “The BYU game was a blast … to handle business the way we did,” Tinkle said. “It’s rare to have two statement games in a row. It shows you the potential that we have.”
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