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Sports >  Gonzaga women

Gonzaga women look to avoid letdown at upset-minded Saint Mary’s

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 21, 2022

Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Yvonne Ejim (15) shoots against Portland Pilots guard Maisie Burnham (24) during the first half of a college basketball game on Thursday, Jan 20, 2022, at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Wash.  (Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Yvonne Ejim (15) shoots against Portland Pilots guard Maisie Burnham (24) during the first half of a college basketball game on Thursday, Jan 20, 2022, at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Guess who’s overachieving again?

Picked to finish seventh in the West Coast Conference this season, the Saint Mary’s women are 3-1 in conference play and coming off an upset victory at San Diego.

That’s sure to boost the Gaels’ confidence going into Saturday’s home game against Gonzaga; then again, Saint Mary’s has a knack for knocking off the Zags even in a down year.

Four years ago, Saint Mary’s beat the Zags by 16 in the Kennel to spoil a perfect WCC season for GU.

Two seasons ago in Moraga, California, the Gaels finished with a losing record, yet handed GU its only conference loss.

“They’re definitely a rival,” GU coach Lisa Fortier has said on more than a few occasions.

As usual, the Zags will be favored in the game, which tips of at 1 p.m. at UCU Pavilion.

They’re 13-4 overall and 4-0 in the WCC after beating Portland on Thursday.

The Zags took a big early lead against Portland, muddled through the middle quarters and finished with rush.

On that same night, Saint Mary’s was doing the same thing at San Diego. Up by nine early, they trailed by three going into the fourth quarter before pulling away for a 79-71 win.

The Gaels are 9-6 overall, with two straight wins following a 78-36 shellacking at No. 18 BYU.

The teams have two common nonconference opponents, Utah and UC Davis.

While GU beat the Utes and lost at Davis, the Gaels did just the opposite.

Saint Mary’s defeated UC Davis 52-50 and fell to Utah 92-50.

Forward Ali Bamberger, who scored 21 points at San Diego, has paced the Gaels all year. A 6-foot-3 sophomore, she averages 15.1 points and 9.3 rebounds a game, the latter ranking second in the WCC.

Senior guard Taycee Wedin needs just four more 3-pointers to break the school career mark of 268. Wedin is shooting 41% on 3-pointers this year, but teammate Madeline Holland is even better at 43%.

The game is the first of three road contests for Gonzaga, which is at Pepperdine on Thursday and at San Diego on Jan. 29.

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