Another team on a roll visits the Kennel on Saturday.
The Santa Clara women have won four of their past five games, including a 77-76 thriller at Portland on Thursday.
But as San Francisco found out that same night, the McCarthey Athletic Center is where winning streaks come to die – that is, every streak but GU’s.
The Zags’ 79-66 West Coast Conference win over USF was their 16th straight overall and 22nd in a row at home. It also ended the Dons’ six-game win streak.
If history is any guide, GU’s run won’t end Saturday afternoon; Santa Clara hasn’t won in Spokane since 2003 – when GU coach Lisa Fortier was still in college.
The Broncos beat GU twice in 2016, once in the Bay Area and again at the WCC Tournament, the only year in the past 14 that hasn’t ended with a Zags appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
It was the same story Jan. 14 in Santa Cruz, California, where the Broncos played home games because of COVID-19 restrictions in Santa Clara County.
In that game, GU won 71-52 and outrebounded the Broncos 31-17, the fewest by an opponent this year.
The Zags’ big three dominated that contest. Guard Jill Townsend had a game-high 20 points on 9-for-12 shooting, Jenn Wirth had 15 points and four rebounds and LeeAnne With added a game-high six boards along with eight points.
Gonzaga opened the game by knocking down 12 of its first 14 shots and leading 27-10 after the first quarter.
Since then, Santa Clara has played its best ball of the season to improve to 12-7 overall and 8-5 in the WCC. The Broncos also have matched their win total from last season, when they went 12-19.
Lindsey VanAllen leads Santa Clara with 12.5 points a game, followed by Ashlyn Herlihy (12.1 pgg and a team-high 6.9 rebounds).
Merle Wiehl adds 10.1 ppg while shooting 52.7% from the field.
A win Saturday would keep the 17th-ranked Zags (12-0 WCC) at least two games ahead of second-place BYU (9-2) going into their game Thursday in Provo, Utah.
San Diego (7-2 in the WCC), which hosts GU on Feb. 20, also remains in the title hunt.
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