Gonzaga’s depth made the difference Sunday afternoon in a big win at Montana.
In their first true road game of the season, the Zags overcame foul trouble and a tough crowd in Missoula to take a 67-60 nonconference win over the Lady Griz.
“Our team battled today,” Coach Lisa Fortier said after GU improved to 2-0 going into Thursday’s home against Idaho State.
“It’s a hostile environment and a great crowd,” Fortier said. “It always has been a tough place to play.”
The game played out much like GU’s 58-51 win last year in Spokane, with GU leading most of the way but not putting away UM until the final minute.
Trailing 64-59 with 40 seconds left, the Lady Griz (1-1) had a chance to make it a one-possession game. But as Katerina Tsineke drove the lane, GU guard Kayleigh Truong planted her feet under the basket and took the charge.
Montana was forced to foul, and Truong capitalized by making two free throws that gave GU a 66-59 advantage with 22 seconds left and put the game away.
“Our team was able to rebound the ball and we got stops, which we needed,” Fortier said. “We had a couple huge charges and a couple of huge baskets at different times, so I think that is the way that we got to see stops in the fourth quarter.”
Gonzaga fell behind 10-4 in the first 3 minutes, but took the lead for the first time on a 3-point shot from McKayla Williams that made it 11-10.
GU was up 15-14 after one quarter. Montana would never lead again, but tied the game twice before the Zags pulled away to a 36-28 advantage at halftime.
Gonzaga took its biggest lead, 50-38, on a 3-pointer midway through the third quarter by Kaylynne Truong, who had a team-high 15 points off the bench. Gonzaga’s reserves outscored Montana 31 to 8.
Kayleigh Truong scored 13 points and and Cierra Walker 10 for the Zags, who shot
Montana outshot the Zags, 43% to 41%, but Gonzaga dominated on the boards, 42-30, and got a career-high 10 from senior Anamaria Virjoghe.
The Zags also limited Montana to 1-for-10 from long range while going 5-for-17.
Montana’s Carmen Gfeller, a senior from Colfax played 36 minutes and scored 19 points, both game-highs.
The win is Gonzaga’s ninth straight over Montana and trims the Lady Griz’ lead in the overall series to 17-16.
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