The Gonzaga women made things look easy Tuesday night, which is saying something considering their circumstances.
It wasn’t exactly a breather – how could it be when almost everyone is logging 30-plus minutes on the floor? – but the Zags coasted to a 73-49 nonconference win over Queens University of Charlotte in front of a crowd of about 2,000 at the Kennel.
Five of her players sidelined, coach Lisa Fortier appreciated the effort of the seven in uniform
“They’ve just been grinding,” Fortier said of the injuries, illnesses and travel issues that have plagued the Zags for the past two-plus weeks.
“I haven’t gone through a stretch exactly like this,” Fortier said. “It’s a testament to them, and I’m really happy they get tomorrow off.”
Even better, the 22nd-ranked Zags (8-2) won’t play again until Sunday, when UC Davis visits the Kennel for a 2 p.m. tipoff.
“That’s the biggest takeaway,” Fortier said.
There were others. Yvonne Ejim was almost unstoppable from the high post as she hit 13 of 17 shots and scored a career-high 32 points.
“You keep going with what’s working for you,” said Ejim, who had 20 points at halftime and finished six points short of the GU single-game record of 38 set by Amy Simpson against Lewis-Clark State in 1983.
“She’s got all the tools,” Fortier said of Ejim. “It’s always nice that when you throw someone the ball and you know that something good is probably going to happen.”
The Zags got another strong shooting game from Brynna Maxwell, who came into the game ranked 14th nationally in 3-point shooting percentage at 52.7%.
Maxwell went 4 for 7 from deep and finished with 16 points.
Two days after losing by 21 at No. 2 Stanford, the Zags faced perhaps their easiest game of the nonconference season on Tuesday.
Queens, a small private college in North Carolina, is transitioning to Division I, and the talent gap was evident.
Despite that, the Royals made their first five shots to lead 15-9.
Queens (4-5) still led 17-11 with 2 minutes left in the first quarter before Ejim and GU went on a 26-6 run to take over.
GU led 37-23 at halftime after making 8 of 9 shots in the second quarter. The Zags took their biggest lead, 65-32, on a pull-up jumper by McKayla Williams with 6½ minutes left in the game.
The Zags had another stellar night at the foul line, making 14 of 16 shots to remain among the leaders in Division 1.
The Royals got 25 points from guard Adia Brisker, who made 10 of 26 shots.
Gonzaga dominated the boards 35-21. Ejim had a game-high eight rebounds.
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