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Sports >  Gonzaga women

Portland women return shot-blocker Lucy Cochrane in second meeting with Gonzaga

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 19, 2022

Gonzaga coach Lisa Fortier talks with Anamaria Virjoghe in the final minutes of Saturday’s WCC home win over San Diego.  (JESSE TINSLEY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Gonzaga coach Lisa Fortier talks with Anamaria Virjoghe in the final minutes of Saturday’s WCC home win over San Diego. (JESSE TINSLEY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

After almost five weeks on the road, the Gonzaga women are at home for the second time in five days.

On top of that, they’re playing a Portland team they beat by double digits two weeks ago on the road.

Then again, the Zags aren’t playing the same Pilots. Absent that night was 6-foot-6 post Lucy Cochrane, one of the top shot-blockers in the nation.

GU took full advantage.

Forwards Melody Kempton and Yvonne Ejim had career scoring nights, with 25 and 22 points, respectively, as the Zags won 76-65.

“Having (Cochrane) back, obviously that changes things somewhat, but we still want to be aggressive in there,” coach Lisa Fortier said.

The other challenge in a second meeting, Fortier said, is that even with Cochrane back, there’s always a tendency to stay the course in the rematch.

“It’s more difficult to adjust when you won the first time,” Fortier said.

Cochrane, who has started 12 games this year, averages 8.3 points and 7.3 rebounds. She also has 49 blocks to be ranked sixth in Division 1. Her per-game average of 4.1 blocks leads the nation.

Even without Cochrane, the Pilots battled GU to the end despite getting outrebounded 42-27. The Zags led 62-49 with just over 5 minutes left, but Portland cut the gap to five before GU finally clinched the game at the foul line.

GU faces one more adjustment: Tipoff is at the unusual time of 4 p.m.

Earlier this week, the GU men were able to schedule a makeup game Thursday against San Francisco. That contest will be televised by CBS, but will tip off at 8 p.m. That pushed the GU women’s game back by 2 hours.

There’s plenty at stake. The game at Portland (11-3 overall, 1-1 WCC) is the closest thing to a quality win this year for GU (12-4, 3-0).

Portland is 64th in the NCAA’s NET rankings, while GU is 29th.

The Zags are coming off a 76-66 home win over San Diego in which Ejim, Kempton and Kayleigh and Kaylynne Truong scored in double figures.

The Zags are averaging 40.7 rebounds a game and a plus-10.8 margin, which ranks sixth in the nation and first in the WCC.

The Bulldogs are also first in the conference in scoring defense, giving up an average of 56.4 points. Portland is second with 58.8.

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