LAS VEGAS – The Gonzaga women sweated out a few scary moments against San Francisco, but Jill Barta led a second-half charge and finished with 19 points and eight rebounds to help the top-seeded Bulldogs pull past the fifth-seeded Dons 65-53 at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Emma Stach recorded 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc, Chandler Smith scored eight points to go with five rebounds and five assists, and Zykera Rice scored six points while snaring a team-high 10 rebounds.
The Zags (26-5) will gun for their eighth WCC Tournament title at 1 p.m. on Tuesday against the winner of sixth-seeded San Diego and seventh-seeded Pacific. The championship game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
Gonzaga routed USF twice in the regular season, by 27 and 24 points respectively, but the Dons provided more resistance in the third meeting and the Bulldogs weren’t able to pull away until the midpoint of the third quarter. Barta and Jenn Wirth pieced together three straight layups for a 6-0 GU run and the Zags maintained at least a two-possession lead from there on out.
It was a chilly start for the Zags and Dons, who combined to miss their first 11 shots from the field and went scoreless until USF’s Anna Seilund knocked down a short jumper nearly three minutes in. Just 15 points were scored between the teams in the first quarter, although both offenses picked up in the second, combining to score 39.
Wirth left the floor with an injury in the third quarter and didn’t return to the game for Gonzaga. She finished with six points and three rebounds in 17 minutes.
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