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Gonzaga Women's Basketball

Gonzaga women falls in second meeting with No. 2 Stanford 66-50 after game was scheduled two days earlier

Gonzaga guard Kaylynne Truong, right, battled for the ball against Stanford forward Cameron Brink during the first half of an NCAA women’s college basketball game Sunday in Stanford, Calif. The Zags dropped a 66-50 decision to Stanford in the nonconference contest.  (Associated Press)

The Gonzaga women got some much-needed game time Sunday afternoon.

The Zags also hung with second-ranked Stanford for most of way but lost 66-50 in a nonconference contest that was scheduled just two days earlier.

The loss, GU’s worst in more than four years, drops Gonzaga to 10-4 overall going into a West Coast Conference game Thursday night at Pacific.

The game in Stanford, California, was set up on Friday after the schools’ respective opponents, Santa Clara and Oregon State, were unable to play because of COVID-19 protocols.

The loss was Gonzaga’s worst since an 88-71 setback against DePaul in the Thanksgiving tournament in Las Vegas in November 2017.

Unlike the teams’ first meeting this year – a 66-62 Stanford win at the Kennel – the game was never a nailbiter or a blowout. Gonzaga trailed by double digits for much of the first half before closing to 33-24 at intermission.

Defending NCAA champion Stanford (11-3) twice led by 17 before GU got within 10 midway through the fourth quarter.

Statistically, the Cardinal dominated the first quarter, yet led only 17-12 when it ended.

Five minutes into the game, Gonzaga had gotten off just five shots (making two of them), while Stanford made 3 of 17.

By the end of the quarter the Zags turned the ball over seven times while forcing no turnovers, and gave up 10 offensive rebounds.

“They’re just so long, and they don’t make mistakes, they communicate well, and they scout well,” GU Coach Lisa Fortier said. “We always say that when you play Stanford, you learn exactly where you’re strong and where you’re weak.”

Stanford went up by as many as 14 in the second quarter before Yvonne Ejim hit a layup and a foul shot to pull the Zags within 9 points.

The 3-point play capped a 7-0 run for the Zags.

“We ended up battling … but they landed the first blow,” Fortier said.

Overall, the Zags shot at 33.9% and was outrebounded 47-42. Defensively, GU held the Cardinal to a 33.8 shooting percentage, when the team averages 45.4 %. The performance marked the lowest for the Cardinal so far this season.

Two Zags scored in double digits, with Ejim getting 14 and Kayleigh Truong 12. Guard Cierra Walker led the Zags with eight rebounds.

Stanford got a game-high 21 points from guard Hannah Jump, who made 5 of 13 outside shots. Cameron Brink added 14 points and 16 boards.

Stanford played the first meeting without junior guard Haley Jones, the NCAA Tournament MVP last spring and averaging 12.3 points and a team-high 8.3 rebounds.

Jones was a major factor for the Cardinal with 15 points and seven rebounds.

“She certainly was problematic for us,” Fortier said.

The Zags are scheduled to resume West Coast Conference action Thursday at 7 p.m. Their next home game is Saturday against San Diego.