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Sports >  Gonzaga women

Ole Miss shuts down Gonzaga women as Rebels roll to 71-48 NCAA Tournament win

March 17, 2023 Updated Fri., March 17, 2023 at 10:41 p.m.

By Jim Allen For The Spokesman-Review

STANFORD, Calif. – During pregame warmups, the Gonzaga players were hitting nearly every long-range shot they took.

It seemed so easy – and then almost impossible when they took the floor against the Mississippi Rebels in a first-round NCAA Tournament game Friday night at Stanford University.

Throw in a physical Ole Miss defense that utterly suffocated the Zags inside and out, and the result was predictable: a resounding 71-48 defeat in a game that figured to be much closer.

There was no sugar-coating this one, and GU coach Lisa Fortier didn’t try.

“What a bummer,” Fortier said after the Zags’ worst loss of the season. “We think we’re good enough to compete with that team … but the game was definitely played under Ole Miss’ terms.”

The halftime stat line was almost surreal.

Gonzaga, the top 3-point shooting team in the nation, missed all seven long-range shots. Ole Miss, one of the worst, made 4 out of 12.

The ninth-seeded Zags trailed by 13 at halftime and things got worse from there. By the end of the third quarter, Gonzaga had made one 3-pointer in 14 attempts and trailed 59-31.

“We were outmatched physically,” Fortier said.

If there was a turning point, it came midway through the second quarter.

With Gonzaga trailing 18-16 in the middle of the second quarter, Maxwell got a wide-open look from the top of the arc but missed badly.

Twenty seconds later, Snudda Collins hit nothing but net from the left corner and Ole Miss had its biggest lead to that point, 21-16.

Ejim picked up her third personal foul on a charge, and Collins hit another 3-pointer to make it 24-16.

Fortier called a badly needed timeout, but Maxwell missed from 12 feet. Then came a four-point play from Collins after a foul by Kaylynne Truong.

That made it 31-18, a double-digit lead that only grew from there.

Gonzaga trailed 34-21 at halftime and needed some made 3s to get back in the game.

Instead, the Bulldogs got more pain in the paint.

“We’ve played some pretty physical teams. … but I think it is different,” Fortier said.

“You’re watching game film and it’s different (on the court).”

The Rebels (24-8) will go on to play Sunday against No. 1 seed Stanford, which routed Sacred Heart 92-49 in the first game at Maples Pavilion.

The Zags (28-5) end the season with two straight losses for the first time since 2004.

Ole Miss led 12-10 after the first quarter, as both teams were 4 for 14 from the field and the Zags missed all four of their long-range shots.

Ejim made a potentially momentum -turning play midway through the second quarter. With GU trailing 14-12, she stole a pass at midcourt and took it back for a contested layin.

Snudda, however, hit the game’s first 3-pointer a minute later.

Ejim, the only Zag scoring in double figures, had 19 points and went 8 for 14 from the floor. The rest of the team was 9 for 44.

Most of the team stats were as one-sided as the score. Gonzaga was outrebounded 51-36 and shot a season-low 29% (17 for 58) from the floor.

“It was definitely felt on the boards,” Ejim said. “We weren’t able to overcome a lot of their physicality.”

The Zags finished 1 for 17 from long range.

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