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Gonzaga Women's Basketball

No. 16 Gonzaga uses balanced scoring to complete perfect West Coast Conference season

By Greg Lee The Spokesman-Review

Lisa Fortier was in tears before Senior Night at McCarthey Athletic Center on Wednesday.

Then she caught herself tearing up at the end of the third quarter.

No wonder. Her Gonzaga team had an appropriate end to the regular season.

The 16th-ranked Zags had no difficulties dispatching Portland 90-40 on Senior Night before a sellout crowd of 6,000 at McCarthey Athletic Center in a game that didn’t end until well past Fortier’s and most of those in attendance bed times.

Now Gonzaga will be off until March 11. The Zags have a double bye in the West Coast Conference Tournament in Las Vegas.

The Zags finished the WCC undefeated for the first time in Fortier’s 10 years (16-0). And their 29-2 record is the best winning percentage (.935) in school history, besting the 2019-20 season (28-3).

Wednesday served as the home farewell for the Truong twins, Kaylynne and Kayleigh, Eliza Hollingsworth, Brynna Maxwell and Destiny Burton.

The Zags may receive two more home games if they’re awarded as a home site for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

With a national television audience watching, the Zags were their dominating selves.

And when a team starts a game on a 15-0 run and finishes the first half on a 12-0 surge there’s not much an opponent can do. Especially when the Zags were playing solid defense.

Fortier couldn’t have scripted a better performance. And it started with defense.

“I’m really happy for our seniors and our team,” Fortier said. “Portland is good. We were just really dialed in defensively. I’m a defensive coach so I believe in defending first and then that opens up your offense. We just really played a good defensive game.”

It all converged in the third quarter when the Zags (29-2, 16-0) put up 29 points and held Portland (17-12, 9-6) to seven.

“We definitely wanted to come out (in the third quarter) and extend things and not go the other direction,” Fortier said. “Twenty nine points is great, but (just allowing) seven is the most impressive part of that in my mind.”

The win extended Gonzaga’s home winning streak to 34 and season winning streak to 23.

Appropriately, Truong hit the 3-pointer that gave the fans tacos.

Gonzaga ended the third quarter on a 22-0 run. Kayleigh Truong hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the final 26 seconds to give the Zags a 72-27 lead going into the fourth.

The Zags’ usual leading scorers all finished in double digits. Maxwell led with 19 points and five rebounds, Kayleigh Truong had 18 points, Yvonne Ejim had 17 points and five rebounds, Kaylynne Truong had 11 points and six assists and Hollingsworth had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“It’s funny me and (Kayleigh) this morning were trying to prep for the speech a little bit and then Eliza was telling us ‘we’ve got to focus on the game first,’” Kaylynne Truong said. “I was like yeah, yeah, right, right. Everything connected tonight. … I’m just speechless honestly.”

The Zags were without sophomore forward Calli Stokes for a third straight game. She suffered a concussion last week and is listed as game-to-game.