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Gonzaga Women's Basketball

Gonzaga women to open WCC schedule Dec. 30 at home against USF

Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier, center, talks to her team during the first half of a college basketball game against Belmont in the first round of the women’s NCAA tournament at the University Events Center in San Marcos, Texas, Monday, March 22, 2021.  (Associated Press)

The Gonzaga women will open the West Coast Conference portion of their schedule at home against San Francisco on Dec. 30, the conference announced Wednesday.

The upcoming season will span nine weeks, concluding on Feb. 26 at home against Loyola Marymount.

The Bulldogs have won 16 of the past 17 regular-season WCC titles, including the 2020-21 title, along with eight of the past 13 tournament championships.

They expect to face another strong challenge from BYU, which finished second last year and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Unlike GU, the Cougars return several veterans who took advantage of the sixth year of eligibility offered by the NCAA because of disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Gonzaga finished 16-1 in the WCC last year and 23-4 overall, winning the WCC Tournament final over BYU on a last-second shot by Jill Townsend.

Always a highly anticipated matchup, BYU and Gonzaga will meet twice in the second half of the WCC schedule, matching up Feb. 5 in the Kennel and Feb. 19 in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah.

After hosting USF in the conference opener, the Zags will play at LMU and Portland on Jan. 1 and Jan. 6, respectively.

The Zags return home against Santa Clara on Jan. 8 before traveling to Pacific. GU welcomes San Diego and Portland on Jan. 15 and 20. Three consecutive road games follow to close the month at Saint Mary’s (Jan. 22), Pepperdine (Jan. 27) and San Diego (Jan. 29).

The Bulldogs host Pacific and BYU on Feb. 3 and 5, and are at Santa Clara (Feb. 10) and San Francisco (Feb. 12).

Gonzaga closes the regular season hosting three of the last four WCC games, starting with Saint Mary’s on Feb. 17.

The final two games of the WCC schedule are against Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount in Spokane on Feb. 24 and 26, respectively.

The WCC Tournament will follow March 3-8 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

The nonconference schedule will be announced at a later date, and may include a visit from defending NCAA champion Stanford. That game, along with several other nonconference matchups, was wiped out by the pandemic.

Gonzaga’s nonconference schedule will be released soon.