CORVALLIS, Oregon – Gonzaga expected to face some adversity Monday night.
The heat in Gill Coliseum, the crowd of 8,000-plus – those were givens.
But foul trouble? That wasn’t in the equation, but it added up by the end of the second-round NCAA Tournament game, which Oregon State won 76-70.
“That wasn’t part of the strategy,” GU coach Lisa Fortier said. “They were aggressive, and they were definitely trying to dribble at us.”
Zykera Rice picked up her second foul late in the first quarter. GU overcame that thanks to dead-eye shooting from Jenn and LeeAnne Wirth.
Then the whistles fell on another senior, Chandler Smith, who was still on the floor at the end despite four fouls.
By game’s end the GU starters had been whistled for 21 fouls, but only LeeAnne Wirth had fouled out.
All told, the Zags were called for 27 fouls, a season high.
The seniors saved their best for last against OSU, Rice hitting a pair of 3-pointers in the final two minutes to finish with a game-high 20 points.
Smith did a lot of everything – 13 points on 6-for-12 shooting, three boards and as many assists.
But all those whistles came at a price: some awkward rotations for the Zags and 28 trips to the foul line for Oregon State.
“We were trying to draw our own, and they were finding a way to get them to go their way and we didn’t,” Fortier said.
The Beavers made the most of them by making 23 free throws; Gonzaga was 11 for 15 – a major factor in a game that featured nine lead changes and 10 ties.
GU had 28 field goals to 24 for the Beavers.
“They (the officials) thought that their players were going straight up and that we weren’t,” Fortier said.
“We were trying to stay attached, because they’re such good shooters,” Fortier said. “Stay close enough so that they didn’t shoot the three, and that led to some fouls.”
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