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Two significant injuries give No. 11 Gonzaga women that same eerie feeling

Gonzaga’s bench reacts after Bulldogs guard Katie Campbell is removed from the game with an injury during the second half of a 59-44 victory over BYU on Saturday at McCarthey Athletic Center. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

The Gonzaga women’s players and coaches can’t shake the numbness.

“It’s such a strange feeling,” Bulldogs coach Lisa Fortier said Monday, two days after the Zags won a big game over BYU but might have lost senior guard Katie Campbell to a knee injury.

“There’s happiness for the team and for the program, but it’s still eerie how much it feels like last year,” Fortier said.

Last March in the West Coast Conference tournament semifinals, the Zags won a double-overtime thriller over Saint Mary’s – at the price of season-ending injuries to Laura Stockton and Jill Townsend.

“Last year it was the same feeling,” Fortier said. “We had this amazing, glorious win, and it was kind of ‘who cares?’

“It was the same thing Saturday. It was like ‘I’ll give you the victory back if I can get Katie back.’ ”

Late in Saturday’s 59-44 victory against BYU, Campbell landed awkwardly on her left knee as she drove for a contested layup.

Writhing in pain for several minutes, she was carried off the McCarthey Athletic Center court by two trainers.

Two days later, Fortier couldn’t comment on the severity of Campbell’s injury except to say “We’re still working on that.”

Townsend was also injured during that game, suffering a possible broken nose – though Fortier couldn’t confirm that either.

“Her face is very colorful right now,” Fortier said.

Meanwhile, the Zags (22-1 overall and 10-0 in the WCC) moved up another spot, to 11th in the Associated Press poll released Monday.

It’s the highest AP ranking in school history, eclipsing the No. 12 ranking of last March. The Zags passed DePaul, which lost to unranked Creighton; and are 25 points behind UCLA.

The Bruins are at No. 6 Stanford this week, which gives GU a chance to break into the top 10 provided the Zags can win at Pacific on Thursday and Saint Mary’s on Saturday.

Pacific almost upset the Zags two weeks ago in Spokane, falling 68-67.

Gonzaga was 11th in last week’s USA Today Coaches Poll, which will be updated on Tuesday.

GU was ranked 12th Monday night in the first of two NCAA top-16 reveals. That translates into the Zags hosting first- and second-round tournament games

The second reveal will take place during halftime of the South Florida-UConn game on March 2.

For the third week in a row, GU is projected by ESPN bracketologist Charlie Creme to earn a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. This week’s bracket has the Zags facing Indiana-Purdue in the first round before taking on either TCU or Nebraska.