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Gonzaga Basketball

Fortier off to her best start as Gonzaga women’s basketball coach

Gonzaga’s coach Lisa Fortier, directing her team in a victory over EWU on Dec. 11, (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Lisa Fortier is on a roll.

The Gonzaga women’s basketball coach is off to her best start, 7-2, in her three seasons at Gonzaga, with an upset over then-No. 11 Stanford and her first victory over Washington State under her belt this season.

She’s following a similar path taken by the 2004-05 team, which started the season 11-2, the best start in school history. GU was also 7-2 in nine games that season.

Fortier’s streak could be tested Monday when GU meets the Northwestern Wildcats (10-1) at the McCarthey Athletic Center as 6 p.m.

The Wildcats come to Spokane off an 87-75 win over Santa Clara on Saturday. It was Northwestern’s seventh straight win since its only loss this season on Nov. 25 against DePaul, which was ranked No. 20 in the AP poll at the time. The winning streak started with an upset over then-No. 16 Florida, beating the Gators 73-68 on Nov. 25.

The Zags have only faced Northwestern one other time when they fell to the Wildcats 62-43 in December 2014. Northwestern led the entire game behind Nia Coffey’s game-high 16 points. The Wildcats shot 45.5 percent (25 of 55) from the field and hit eight of their 21 attempts from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs could only sink 4 of 17 3-point attempts and was 31.5 percent (17 of 54) from the field.

GU led the Wildcats in rebounds 37-34. The Zags also made 5 of 7 free throws. Northwestern made 4 of 9.

GU’s Keani Albanez led the Bulldogs with 15 points, hitting 5 of 12 shots. Shaniqua Nilles added 10 points for the Zags.

“We’re excited. They laid on us the last time we played them my redshirt year, so Ellie (Tinkle) and I have a little fight in us to beat them,” Gonzaga’s Kiara Kudron told The Spokesman-Review’s Jim Allen after the Bulldogs toppled EWU 73-54 on Dec. 8.

Tinkle put up six points against Northwestern two years ago in Evanston, Illinois, while grabbing five rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Emma Wolfram nearly matched Tinkle’s stats with six points, five rebounds and three blocks. Wolfram also had an assist.

Northwestern’s Coffey leads the Wildcats with 21.3 points and 12 rebounds per game. The senior forward is the career leader in rebounds at Northwestern and has already been voted Big Ten Player of the Week twice this season.

Monday’s game will be televised on SWX, one of six televised games on SWX this season. A live stream on THEW.TV will also be available.