Even after a disappointing loss, Gonzaga women’s coach Lisa Fortier is staying positive.
The Zags are 1-2 and barely in the Associated Press Top 25 poll after falling in overtime at South Dakota State on Sunday. But unlike the GU men, they’re still playing.
“We’re reminding ourselves that there’s not a guarantee that we’re going to play tomorrow,” Fortier said Monday. “We just hope to get to that game.”
That would be Tuesday night at Wyoming, the last of four tough games to start the season. GU’s first three games, against South Carolina, South Dakota and SDSU, were decided by a combined 14 points.
“It’s definitely tested us,” Fortier said of a schedule bereft of some of the easier opponents typical of pre-COVID seasons.
“We would have liked to start the season with some warm-ups, but we were happy to fill the schedule, given the circumstances with our men’s team,” Fortier said.
The GU men may be No. 1 in the polls, but have paused until at least Dec. 14 because of COVID issues. The Zag women fell seven spots to 25th in Monday’s poll, but at least they’re playing.
Up next is a Wyoming team that, according to Fortier, is much like the first three opponents.
“They try to suck you out and then drive it,” Fortier said of the Cowgirls, who won their season opener on Saturday against Denver, 79-67.
In that game, Wyoming shot 49% from the field and 43.5% from 3-point range – a source of concern after GU watched SDSU sink 11 of 25 long-range shots on Sunday. GU was only 4 for 16 from 3.
“The players are disappointed,” Fortier said. “We didn’t defend that well. Even with the mistakes we made, we still made some big shots, but theirs were bigger.”
Against Denver, the Cowgirls had four players with double-figure scoring. Guard McKinley Bradshaw led the way with 18 points on 3-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc.
Forward Dagney Davidsdottir had 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The Cowgirls return seven letter winners and three starters from last season’s squad that finished 17-12 overall with a 12-6 mark in the Mountain West Conference play.
Wyoming, picked to finish fifth in the Mountain West, returns three players that started at least 10 games a season ago, led by Sanchez Ramos and Quinn Weidemann who started all 29 contests last season.
Through three games, Gonzaga is shooting 44.7% from the field and 33.3% from long-range. However, they are shooting only 62% from the foul line on just 45 attempts.
Opponents have taken 77 foul shots and made 50, for a 65% average.
Senior guard Jill Townsend leads GU with 21.3 points per game, with no other Zag averaging in double figures. Senior forward Jenn Wirth averages 9.7 points and a team-high 6.7 rebounds.
GU is home Sunday against Montana, but fans will not be allowed inside the McCarthey Athletic Center.
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