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Gonzaga Women's Basketball

No. 19 Gonzaga women take care of business against San Diego 80-52

Gonzaga point guard Kaylynne Truong drives past San Diego defender Veronica Sheffey on Thursday in San Diego.  (Courtesy of Gonzaga Athletics)
By Greg Lee The Spokesman-Review

It was the West Coast Conference’s first-place women’s basketball team against the last-place team on Thursday.

The result was predictable as 19th-ranked Gonzaga ran the San Diego Toreros off the Jenny Craig Pavilion court, winning 80-52.

Gonzaga was well on its way to thumping last-place San Diego by halftime. But then the Zags caught fire, making 8 of 8 shots from 3-point range in the third quarter.

“It was kind of like we were throwing the ball in the ocean,” Gonzaga coach Lisa Fortier said. “We knew the next one was going to go in with the way they were all shooting it. We just moved the ball better (in the quarter) than any time in the game.”

The Zags didn’t know if their third-quarter 3-point shooting was the best in a single quarter in team history, but it’s hard to imagine anything better.

Gonzaga improved to 21-2 overall with its 15th straight win and 8-0 in the WCC. Struggling San Diego fell to 4-17 and 0-8.

It was Gonzaga’s 15th straight win over San Diego.

It took Gonzaga more time than usual to get rolling.

“It was a grind right there at the beginning,” Fortier said. “You can’t win the game in one possession and you can’t win the game in one quarter. Even though we started off slow, we continued to run good offense and share the ball.”

Graduate point guard Kaylynne Truong led Gonzaga with a double-double, finishing with 12 assists and 11 points.

Gonzaga got 19 points from Brynna Maxwell, who made 5 of 10 3-pointers, and 14 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots from Yvonne Ejim. Eliza Hollingsworth added 14 points, eight rebounds and two assists.

“All five of our starters scored in double figures in limited minutes,” Fortier said. “We can have great balance like that in every game because our players are really talented. They’re trying to do the little things. They’re willing passers. They don’t care who gets the credit.”

What got into the Zags in the third quarter? Kaylynne Truong had an idea.

“We were finding the shooters after very poor shooting, in my opinion, in the first half,” she said. “We picked it up as a team. With (Yvonne), Eliza, Maud (Huijbens) and (Destiny Burton) all killing it inside, we can play on the outside, too.”

Truong said she appreciates her teammates taking advantage of her passing.

“It’s a two-way thing,” she said. “I make the pass, and my teammates score the basket. I’ve got to give a big thank you to my teammates.”

After a 1-for-7 start from the field, Gonzaga finished 28 of 58 and 12 of 26 from 3-point range. The Zags had 24 assists on 28 made shots.

The Zags used a 12-0 second-quarter start to start pulling away before going into halftime leading 38-20.

Maxwell’s 3-pointer, the final one in the third quarter, put Gonzaga ahead 62-31. They led 68-37 going into the fourth.

Hollingsworth hit a 3-pointer to give Gonzaga a 76-44 lead with 5:52 to play.

The only statistic Fortier had to be displeased with was rebounding. The teams tied with 40 each, but the Toreros had 20 offensive rebounds.

“Giving up 20 offensive rebounds – that’s what they do best,” Fortier said of the Toreros. “Their best offense is their rebounding.”

Gonzaga returns home Saturday to face Pacific (13-8, 5-3) for the first time. Tip is at 2 p.m.

Pacific fell to Portland (14-8, 6-2) 85-72 in a battle for second place on Thursday.