At first sight, this would be the perfect time for the Gonzaga women to look past their next opponent.
That would be the Portland Pilots, who visit the Kennel on Saturday afternoon as the only team without a win in West Coast Conference play.
Meanwhile, things couldn’t be going much better for the Zags, who are 15-1 overall and 4-0 in the WCC. They’re also ranked 14th in the nation – the highest in program history – and sit a lofty 10th in the Rating Percentage Index.
After Saturday’s game is a showdown Thursday at BYU, the only other team with a perfect WCC mark.
That makes Portland (8-7, 0-4) a perfect trap game, but coach Lisa Fortier wasn’t going there. Two days after routing Pacific, her players had been brought up to speed on the Pilots.
“We respect them,” said guard Jill Townsend, who noted that Portland is coming off narrow losses to Pacific (76-66) and Saint Mary’s (98-91).
Fortier said the Pilots “probably will play a little loose.”
Then again, so should the Zags, who got two days off this week after playing four games in eight days.
“They deserve it,” Fortier said.
Forward Julie Spencer leads Portland in scoring at 16 points per game. Guard Darian Slaga is close behind at 15.3.
“They have a bunch of players who can shoot it,” Fortier said.
GU tops the conference stat sheet in several key areas, including scoring defense (56.6 points per game), rebounding margin (plus-6.8), steals (10.3) and turnover margin (plus-3.7).
The Zags have dominated the series, winning 35 of the past 36 meetings. Last year, GU won 70-56 at Portland and 75-36 in Spokane.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.