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Sports >  NCAA basketball

Gonzaga women outshoot Eastern Illinois, remain unbeaten in Rainbow Wahine Showdown

Nov. 27, 2021 Updated Sat., Nov. 27, 2021 at 10:08 p.m.

Gonzaga forward Yvonne Ejim, right, sizes up Eastern Illinois defender Taris Thornton during a nonconference basketball game at Hawaii.  (Courtesy of Gonzaga Athletics)
Gonzaga forward Yvonne Ejim, right, sizes up Eastern Illinois defender Taris Thornton during a nonconference basketball game at Hawaii. (Courtesy of Gonzaga Athletics)

For the second consecutive game at the Rainbow Wahine Showdown, the Gonzaga women got off to a fast start Saturday and cruised to a 74-53 win over Eastern Illinois.

The Zags used some familiar weapons – dominance on the boards and superior depth – to beat the Panthers of the Ohio Valley Conference.

GU (5-1) also had its best outside shooting effort of the season, going 13 for 28 from beyond the arc.

Leading the way was backup guard Kaylynne Truong, who had a game-high 17 points while making 5 of 6 shots from long range.

One day earlier, Truong was 1 for 7 from the field in the Zags’ win over Utah.

“We shared the ball really well against a pressure defense,” coach Lisa Fortier said.

“That’s how we pass when we’re at our best.”

Truong’s sister, Kayleigh, had 11 points while making 3 of 4 from long range. She also had five assists.

Gonzaga also dominated inside, outrebounding the shorter Panthers 48-28. Anamaria Virjoghe led the way with seven boards.

The Zags will play host Hawaii on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

Eastern Illinois (4-2) dropped its second consecutive game after winning its first four.

Gonzaga got off to a fast start, leading 9-0 after 3 minutes. Eastern Illinois responded with a pair of quick 3-pointers to get within 13-10.

Gonzaga recovered to take a 23-13 lead after the first quarter.

Gonzaga made 10 of its first 15 shots.

With no GU player seeing more than 23 minutes, Fortier got 36 points from her bench; 27 came from Truong and Ejim, who entered the tournament as the Zags’ top scorers.

Leading 34-25 at halftime, the Zags scored the first six points of the third quarter to take control.

Eastern Illinois twice got within 12, but on both occasions Kaylynne Truong answered with a 3-pointer.

“It was a good effort by our team,” Fortier said. “I thought we had really good first and third quarters.”

The only thing GU didn’t do well was defend the 3-pointer.

Eastern Illinois made 10 of 22 outside shots to stay in the game into the third quarter.

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