As West Coast Conference rivals search for ways to knock them off, the Gonzaga women keep finding more ways to win.
On Saturday, the Zags were in Moraga, California, scene of their last conference loss, courtesy of a hailstorm of 3-point shots from Saint Mary’s.
Not this time. One year later, it was the Zags who found their range early and often on the way to their 14th straight win, rolling 79-52.
Not only did the 18th-ranked Zags make nine of their 17 shots from long range, they also thrived in the paint by outrebounding the Gaels 43-25.
Coming off a shaky fourth quarter in a 12-point win at Pacific two nights earlier, Gonzaga hit the reset button and never looked back to improve to 15-2 overall and 10-0 in the WCC.
“I’m really happy with the way our team responded,” Zags coach Lisa Fortier said. “We wanted to play a more complete game, and we did that today.
“When we were not shooting as well, we really rebounded the ball. When we were beat on defense, we usually had someone in help-side.”
Gonzaga had three players in double figures, highlighted by the eighth double-double of the season from senior forward Jenn Wirth (14 points, 14 rebounds).
Wirth also became the 19th player in program history to eclipse 600 career rebounds and the first since Jill Barta (2015-18).
Jill Townsend added a game-high 20 points – 18 in the first half – and shot 8 of 15 from the floor and 3 of 4 from long range. Cierra Walker chipped in 11 points. Kayleigh Truong reached a career high in assists with nine, adding seven points and three steals in the win.
Gonzaga held Saint Mary’s (5-12, 3-8) to 32.1% shooting.
Gonzaga broke out of an early 6-all tie, leading 16-9 after one quarter as the Gaels made just 3 of 15 shots.
By halftime, the lead was 40-23, with the only blemish 11 first-half turnovers. That, too, was made right in the second half, as GU turned the ball over just three times.
The Zags forced 19 turnovers and finished with 10 steals.
“The transition offense got us going and made for a very fun game,” Fortier said.
After five straight road games, GU gets the next three at the Kennel.
On Tuesday, GU will play its first makeup game of the season, against second-place BYU. Originally scheduled for Jan. 23, it was postponed by COVID-19 protocols within the BYU traveling party.
Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
After a week off, the Zags are home against San Francisco on Feb. 11 and Santa Clara on Feb. 13.
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