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Detail-oriented Gonzaga women return home to host San Francisco, Santa Clara

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 23, 2019, 5:51 p.m.

Gonzaga guard Chandler Smith nails a shot over Portland guard Josie Matz on  Jan. 12  in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Chandler Smith nails a shot over Portland guard Josie Matz on Jan. 12 in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Expect the Gonzaga women’s basketball team to be a bit more detail-oriented this week.

After all, it was the little things that cost the Zags dearly in a two-point loss at BYU last week, a result that left them in second place in the West Coast Conference standings.

For head coach Lisa Fortier, it was allowing BYU to dictate the pace, to “speed us up,” and to let the crowd affect them.

For senior guard Chandler Smith, it was “some critical fouls and not getting the stops when we needed to.”

“But we’re counting the days until we get them here at home,” Smith said of the Feb. 16 rematch at the Kennel.

Despite the loss, GU didn’t exactly fall off the national radar.

The Zags (17-2 overall, 6-1 in the WCC), were one of 13 ranked teams to lose last week. They fell five spots, to 18th, in the Associated Press poll, but are still 10th in RPI.

They’re also projected as a No. 5 seed by ESPN bracketologist Charlie Creme.

GU bounced back on Saturday at lowly San Diego, but Fortier said Tuesday that “I don’t think we played that well in either game.”

That’s the goal this week, regardless that this week’s homestand comes against WCC bottom-feeders USF (5-13, 1-6) and Santa Clara (8-9, 2-6).

On Thursday, it’s the Dons, who have beaten GU once in their last 14 seasons. USF is on a six-game losing streak following a win at San Diego in the WCC opener on Dec. 29.

Through 18 games, USF averages 68.8 points per game, shooting 44.7 percent from the floor, good for third overall in the WCC.

The Dons are led by senior guard Shannon Powell, who shoots 49 percent from the field and averages 16.6 points.

The Bulldogs lead the WCC in six categories, the most important being scoring defense (58.3 ppg), field-goal percentage defense (37.4 percent), 3-point field-goal percentage defense (28 percent), rebounding defense (30.5 rpg) and rebounding margin (plus 3.3).

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