As the Gonzaga women take aim Thursday night at an undisputed West Coast Conference championship, they know their aim needs to improve.
The Zags (25-2, 14-1 WCC) are ranked 13th in the nation, but the past three wins have come despite some inconsistent offense after a season-ending injury to senior guard Katie Campbell.
“We’re reinventing ourselves to some extent without Katie,” Zags head coach Lisa Fortier said Tuesday as the Zags prepare for road games at Loyola Marymount on Thursday and Pepperdine on Saturday.
“It’s like the beginning of the season a little bit, where we were trying to figure out what our identity is,” Fortier said.
However, the offense struggled. GU shot 37% from the field (compared to a season average of almost 46%). Three-point shooting was even worse: 20%, a big drop from the 39% clip the Bulldogs have been at all year.
After watching film, Fortier and her staff noted that shot selection was less than ideal. Perhaps more important, some players took those shots with poor form – “falling backward, off to the side and a little quickly,” Fortier said.
While Campbell is missed on both sides of the ball, Fortier said the offense has further to go.
“We’re back to grinding a little bit,” Fortier said.
Gonzaga, which is enjoying one of the most successful seasons in program history, can claim an undisputed title with a win at LMU.
GU also is chasing a chance to host first- and second-round NCAA Tournament games next month, although it probably needs to run the table in the final three regular-season games and two more in the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas.
LMU (6-19, 3-10) has lost six straight games since beating Pepperdine on Jan. 18.
The Lions have three players scoring in double figures, including Chelsey Gipson (13.1 ppg), Ciera Ellington (11.3 ppg) and Jasmine Jones 11 ppg).
The Lions add 39.1 rebounds per game, 12.8 assists, 8.0 steals and 4.3 blocks per game. Jones leads the Lions in rebounding with 7.7 per game to rank fifth in the WCC. Ellington adds 5.5 per game, 14th in the conference.
In the previous meeting on Jan. 25, Gonzaga became the first team in the nation to reach 20 wins with a 78-52 win over the Lions in front of a sold-out McCarthey Athletic Center.
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