ESTERO, Fla. – Jenn Wirth scored 14 of her 18 points in the second half to lead No. 22 Gonzaga to a 62-50 win over Middle Tennessee at the Gulf Coast Showcase on Saturday.
The Bulldogs hit 10 of 14 shots and outscored the Lady Raiders 25-10 in the pivotal third quarter.
Wirth scored the first two baskets of the fourth quarter with her sister LeeAnne scoring the next one for a 59-37 lead with 7:43 to play. Jenn Worth was 7-of-9 shooting in the second half and 9 of 13 overall.
Katie Campbell had seven of her 10 points in the second quarter to help Gonzaga (5-1) take a 28-27 lead. Jenn Wirth scored the first eight points of the second half to kick-start the Bulldogs, who led 53-37 heading into the fourth quarter.
“We were taking questionable shots. We really wanted to go inside to the post players, and we really hadn’t been able to do that very well in the first half,” Gonzaga coach Lisa Fortier said in a team release. “In the second half, we really focused on hammering it in to those guys.”
Anastasia Hayes had 20 points for the Lady Raiders (5-2), and Taylor Sutton had 11. Hayes was 8 of 22 from the field and 4 of 12 from the foul line. Middle Tennessee shot 32% (19 of 60) and went 6 of 16 from the foul line, barely better than its 3-point effort of 6 of 18.
“I just think we did a much better job of making their shooters drive and their drivers shoot,” Fortier said. “We contained (Sutton and Hayes) a lot better in the second half. A much better job of playing to their weaknesses and playing team defense.”
Gonzaga, which also got 10 points from Melody Kempton, shot 52% overall. The Bulldogs play Purdue (6-0) in Sunday’s title game.
The Boilermakers topped Arizona State 59-52 in the other semifinal.
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