It was nothing short of a masterpiece Saturday afternoon.
The win over Stanford in early December notwithstanding, the Gonzaga women may have played their best game of the season as the 19th-ranked Bulldogs pulverized the Pacific Tigers 104-39 in a West Coast Conference game before 5,633 at McCarthey Athletic Center.
Gonzaga ran its home winning streak to 30 while improving to 22-2 overall, 9-0 in WCC. The streak is the second longest in the nation behind No. 1-ranked South Carolina (50).
The Zags also won their 16th consecutive game this season.
Most thought Gonzaga would win comfortably, but to do so by 65 points against a team that entered the game third in the conference was astounding.
Gonzaga is beating WCC foes by 31 points per game.
“I didn’t think we were going put this kind of number up today,” Gonzaga coach Lisa Fortier said. “Our team never deviated from the game plan. Maybe in the last 3 minutes when they were trying to get to 20 (made 3s) … until that point I don’t think we had a single forced shot. We shared the ball well. Both sides of the ball the game plan and how we played were well executed. It was very apparent what our team is supposed to be about.”
Something was surely in the making when Gonzaga opened with a 15-0 run.
It only got worse. So bad, in fact, that on th last play of the first half, a play was called for senior forward Yvonne Ejim to either take a 3-point shot or drive to the basket.
She choose to pull up, hitting her first 3-pointer of the season that gave Gonzaga a 53-23 lead at halftime.
Pacific (13-9, 5-4) didn’t quit, but the Tigers put up little fight in the second half.
Most of the second-best crowd of the season stayed around and was treated to a school record for 3-point shooting and the Zags cracking the 100-point mark. The 104 points is the most scored by a Fortier team in 10 years.
It’s the largest margin of victory by a Division I team this season.
Kaylynne Truong’s 3-pointer with 3:37 remaining broke the previous team best (17), and Truong hit another one 21 seconds later. The Zags made 19 of 35 (54.3%).
Esther Little went to the free-throw line with the Zags ahead 99-37. She made the first – an unorthodox bank shot. She quickly glanced at the bench, anticipating some teasing.
Ejim had her ninth double-double, scoring 21 points with 11 rebounds and three steals. She was one of six players in double-digit scoring.
Truong had 15 points and nine assists, Brynna Maxwell added 13 points and five rebounds, Bree Salenbien came off the bench to match her career high with 14 points, Kayleigh Truong had 12 points, seven assists and three steals, and Eliza Hollingsworth had 12 points and seven rebounds.
“Our team preps well, but I don’t think we expected it to be anything like this,” Maxwell said. “Pacific is a good team and they’ve won some pretty good teams. I think we may have caught them on a bad day.”
“They (the Tigers’ starters) all average in double digits and none of them averaged in double digits,” Fortier said. “It was a treat for those who made it out today. That’s what fun looks like to (me).”
Gonzaga will host Pepperdine (5-17, 1-8) Thursday.