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GU women extend streak to 11 wins despite slow start

Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier talks with players coming off the court for a timeout during the second half of a NCAA basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. After a slow start, the Bulldogs won for the 11th consecutive time. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
By Michael Gulledge The Spokesman-Review

On January 12, the Gonzaga women cruised over Loyola Marymount and recorded their highest field goal percentage of the season at 56.9 percent.

The start of Thursday night’s rematch against the Lions was the opposite.

Gonzaga won their 11th straight, 73-61, but not in an ideal fashion.

The Bulldogs shot 28 percent (4-for-14) in the first quarter, but six free throws helped them keep pace with the Lions.

The Zags didn’t record their first field goal until Emma Wolfram hit a layup over six minutes into the first quarter. Before Wolfram’s layup, Gonzaga was 0-for-7 on field goals. However, had they had already made five free throws.

“We allowed them to dictate what we were doing on offense,” said head coach Lisa Fortier. “We switched our offense a little bit. We tried to make some adjustments to where the screens were coming from and who was receiving them.”

Fortier’s adjustments worked for the Zags, who closed the game strong. Gonzaga shot 55.6 percent in the third quarter and 43.8 percent in the fourth quarter to help take control of the second half.

The Zags offensive surge in the second half was complemented by a 7 percent shooting percentage from Loyola Marymount in the third quarter.

LMU only scored five points in the third quarter (1-of-14 from the field) and fell to a 17-point deficit just after the start of the fourth quarter.

Gonzaga finished the night with a shooting percentage of 39.6, just below their season average of 42.9 percent.

Saint Mary’s, who the Zags will host on Saturday, leads the West Coast Conference in field goal percentage at 44.2 percent.