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Gonzaga Women's Basketball

Gonzaga women’s basketball notes: Zags face tough stretch starting Friday at Stanford

Gonzaga women’s basketball coach Lisa Fortier is still trying to find the right roster combinations from game to game. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Earlier this week, Gonzaga women’s coach Lisa Fortier and some of her players talked a lot about “selflessness.”

That includes helping out on defense and looking for that extra pass on offense. Both will come in handy over the next week as the Bulldogs go into the toughest portion of their nonconference schedule.

“Toughest” may not be the right adjective, considering GU gets a six-day working vacation in the U.S. Virgin Islands as part of next week’s Paradise Jam.

First up is Friday’s game at No. 11 Stanford, which is 2-0 and coming off a 71-59 win over No. 8 Texas on Monday.

“A couple of us got together and watched that game,” GU senior forward Kiara Kudron said. “They have a lot of physicality, but I think we’re more prepared now to face them.”

Preparation came partly in easy home wins last weekend over Nicholls State and UC Irvine, which saw the Bulldogs work hard not to play down to their competition.

“The extra pass – they’re doing a really good job with that and this team has really embraced it,” GU head coach Lisa Fortier said. “And it’s not just lip service.”

The Bulldogs are 0-7 against Stanford since the series began in 2009, but Fortier expects her front court to hold its own this time with Kudron and Jill Barta.

“Sizewise, we match up very well with them, but we’re dialed in with what they’re going to do and what we’re going to do with it,” Fortier said.

Comparing this year’s team to last year’s, Fortier said, “I like our guard skill set. We have more offensive weapons and better defensive backups.”

The Bulldogs also have more length in the back court with transfers Makenlee Williams and Chandler Smith. They’ll need it against the Cardinal’s 6-3 Brittany McPhee, who scored a career-high 28 points against Texas.

In that same game, preseason all-Pac-12 forward Erica McCall had 17 points and six blocked shots.

After the Stanford game, GU will spend three days in Spokane before jetting to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam and three straight games from Thursday through Nov. 26 against Michigan, No. 12 Florida State and Winthrop.

More Bulldogs play professionally

As the new GU season begins, 11 former Bulldogs are playing in the pro ranks, in the United States and abroad.

Courtney Vandersloot was drafted by the WNBA’s Chicago Sky in 2011 and just completed her sixth season with the club. While there she has averaged 8.8 points per game, five assists per contest, two rebounds per game, and started in 157 games.

Kayla Standish was drafted in 2012 by the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, and has been playing internationally since May 2012. She is with the Frankston Blues of the South East Australian Basketball League in Frankston, Victoria.

Shaniqua Nilles is in her first season playing for the SISU Basketball Klub in the Danish Basketball League in Copenhagen, Denmark. Jazmine Redmon joined Nilles with the SISU Basketball Klub in 2016.

Recent graduate Shelby Cheslek recently signed to play with Dafni Agiou Dimitriou in Greece’s top league.

Kelly Bowen joined Standish in Australia and will play with the Melbourne Boomers, members of the Women’s National Basketball League.

Haiden Palmer is signed to play with Herner TC, which team competes in Germany’s top league. Palmer is a two-time All-WCC selection. One of Palmer’s teammates is Sunny Greinacher, a two-time All-WCC honoree and 2013 Honorable Mention All-WCC selection.

Lindsay Sherbert is set to join fellow former Zag Palmer in Germany, and will play with the Bad Aibling Fireballs for the second consecutive season. Keani Albanez is playing this season with the Athinaikos basketball club located in Athens, Greece.

Georgia Stirton, another recent graduate, signed recently to play with the Nunawading Spectres for the upcoming 2017 South East Australian League Basketball season that begins in May.