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Sports >  Gonzaga women

Second-half defense provides difference in Gonzaga women’s victory

Gonzaga’s Makenlee Williams, on back, and  Elle Tinkle try to gain control of a loose ball during the second half Thursday. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga’s Makenlee Williams, on back, and Elle Tinkle try to gain control of a loose ball during the second half Thursday. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
By Michael Gulledge michaelg@spokesman.com,

It was not an easy win Thursday night for the Gonzaga Bulldogs, who defeated Santa Clara 51-39 at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

The Zags fell behind Santa Clara 21-13 with 6 minutes and 9 seconds remaining in the second period. Gonzaga only had a shooting percentage of 21 percent before three straight 3-pointers, one from Elle Tinkle and two by Emma Stach, brought GU to a two-point deficit before halftime.

At intermission, Gonzaga and Santa Clara were deadlocked at 24, but the Bulldogs came out with strong defense and forced eight turnovers in the third period. GU’s tight defense held the Broncos to one field goal on 10 attempts.

“Our press messed with them a little bit. That caused several of the turnovers,” Bulldogs head coach Lisa Fortier said.

The lone field goal for Santa Clara in the third period came from sophomore guard Emily Wolph at the 8:54 mark.

Wolph, who led Santa Clara in points per game entering the matchup, opened the meeting with two 3-pointers and made five free throws before she missed her first shot early in the third period.

“We wanted to do a better job on Wolph (in the second half),” Fortier said. “Chasing her, making sure we went to the same side on everything. (We) had a high hand up on her, didn’t lose her.”

Fortier’s second-half adjustments shut down Wolph, who finished with 13 points.

On Saturday, Gonzaga will travel to Portland with hopes of a sixth straight win.

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