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Saturday, January 18, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

Sunny Greinacher’s career-high 25 points fuel Gonzaga women to win

The Gonzaga women’s basketball team suffered through one of its worst outside-shooting games of the year, but Sunny Greinacher had a career day to fuel a 76-62 win Saturday over visiting Loyola Marymount.

The Bulldogs shot 2 of 22 from the 3-point line, but Greinacher and center Shelby Cheslek both had double-doubles to put away the pesky Lions, who have lost 13 in a row.

“They don’t ever seem to be easy,” GU coach Lisa Fortier said. “Our 3s obviously were not falling for us today. But Sunny was terrific. I’m pleased with the overall outcome.”

Greinacher scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Cheslek had 11 points and 12 rebounds and Emma Wolfram had eight points and three boards off the bench.

“I think they were concentrating on our guards because they have been shooting very well,” Greinacher said. “It was not a good shooting night for us, but we had a lot of rebounds which kind of made up for it.”

Gonzaga (14-4, 7-0 West Coast Conference) outhustled Loyola Marymount (2-16, 0-7 WCC) 54-40 on the boards and scored 27 second-chance points.

Junior guard Elle Tinkle had been averaging better than 20 points in the six previous conference games. But she went 0 for 6 from 3-point range. She finished with only four points to go with her 10 rebounds and three assists.

Senior guard Keani Albanez also put a goose egg on the board from outside the arc, but she scored seven points and had six assists and two steals. Junior Shaniqua Nilles scored eight points and had six rebounds off the bench.

“Lisa said before halftime that we needed to make a push,” Cheslek said. “We wanted to pull away, because this is a team that can come back at any time.”

The teams traded leads five times in the early going, but Greinacher hit early and often. She finished with 16 first-half points and eight rebounds.

Gonzaga led by four points with about 5 minutes left in the first half before Greinacher fueled a 9-2 run to help give the Bulldogs a 37-24 lead at the break in front of 5,282 fans at McCarthey Athletic Center.

Gonzaga pushed the lead to as many as 21 points in the second half. The Lions cut that lead to 13 with 4:37 to play, but the Zags finished on a 7-3 run to close out the game.

“They are a tough team,” Cheslek said. “I’m glad we pulled it together and came out strong.”

Sophie Taylor recorded a double-double for LMU. She more than doubled her season average (9.4) by scoring 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to pace the Lions.

Gonzaga has won eight consecutive games and remains the only undefeated team in the conference. With Pacific (14-5, 5-2 WCC), BYU (14-5, 6-2 WCC) and San Diego (14-3, 5-2 WCC) all losing Saturday, it sets up a huge game Thursday as the Bulldogs visit Saint Mary’s (13-5, 6-1 WCC).

“It’s not easy to play every game with a target on your back,” Fortier said. “It’s always tougher on the road. But we’ve strung together some nice wins. Hopefully, we can parlay that into a good road trip.”

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