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Gonzaga Women's Basketball

Gonzaga women close in on WCC sweep after 75-41 rout of Pepperdine

By Greg Lee The Spokesman-Review

If the Gonzaga women’s basketball team was exhausted from West Coast Conference road games – and why would it be, it hasn’t been challenged this season – it wasn’t evident Saturday afternoon.

Perhaps it was because the Zags were pleased to know they’re one game closer to the postseason.

Gonzaga had its way against the last-place Pepperdine Waves, cruising to a 75-41 win at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, California.

It was the Zags’ 22nd consecutive victory as they improved to 28-2 overall (most wins in the nation) and 15-0 in WCC (a school best).

Gonzaga’s last loss came nearly three months ago.

A 12-0 start got Gonzaga going, but the Bulldogs slipped into a clunky rhythm for the rest of the half. They led 34-21 at halftime.

Gonzaga made just one of its final 10 shots in the second quarter, going scoreless for nearly 3 minutes to end the half.

The Zags looked like their dominating selves in the second half, smothering the Waves (5-23, 1-14).

“We played well,” Gonzaga coach Lisa Fortier said. “It was a hot start and then we got a little bit maybe casual or lost some of the pace. Our shot selection was just OK. Maybe that’s why the shooting (percentage) wasn’t as high as we’re expecting.”

Brynna Maxwell, who has made a 3-pointer in each of Gonzaga’s games, hit a 3 followed by consecutive 3-pointers from Kayleigh Truong as the Zags opened a 43-25 lead at the 7:40 mark of the third quarter.

Maxwell added another 3-pointer in the fourth quarter along with one from Claire O’Conner. Destiny Burton, celebrating a birthday, had five points in the final 5:09 as Gonzaga stretched the lead.

Maxwell, who made 4 of 6 from 3-point range, led with 18 points and six rebounds. GU’s Yvonne Ejim had another double-double with 17 points, 11 rebounds, five steals and three assists. Kayleigh Truong had 15 points, four assists and three rebounds, and Kaylynne Truong added 13 points, six assists and two steals.

“Brynna got us going with a couple of tough baskets,” Fortier said. “In the third quarter we found the open player. We didn’t force, but we had pace. We waited and created good offensive looks for ourselves.”

It was Ejim’s 34th consecutive time scoring in double digits.

“With the amount of bodies that we didn’t have (injuries) … we did a great job rallying,” Ejim said. “We did a good job on the road. It was a great game to close it out. We’re just trying to grow and prepare for the conference tournament.”

Redshirt sophomore reserve Calli Stokes didn’t make the trip for the Zags, staying in Spokane to nurse a minor nagging injury.

“It was good to see Esther (Little) and Claire (O’Conner) and (Destiny Burton) get a few more minutes than they typically do,” Fortier said.

No. 16 Gonzaga plays its final WCC game Wednesday against Portland. Tip is later than usual at 8 p.m. because the game will be televised on ESPNU.