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Jill Barta leads the Zags to a road win at Montana

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The girls still can’t shoot, but luckily faced a team who couldn’t either

NCAA Womens Basketball: West Coast Conference Tournament-Gonzaga vs Saint Mary's Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The ladies finally got in the win column after beating the Grizzlies 70-55. Once again the Zags got off to a hot start, winning the first quarter 15-10. This time around they never let Montana back into the game. It was Barta who set the tone early, in front her home state with friends and family in attendance with 17 first half points.

The girls still couldn’t shoot from distance, finishing the game just 4-20 from deep (20%). That’s a huge issue that’s going to have to be fixed if they’re going to win many games. Unlike Colorado State however, Montana was worse, going 4-23 (17.4%). Good news was that they used their massive size advantage to get 40 points in the paint, along with winning the battle of the boards 40-26.

While Barta was the player of the game, with 23 points and 11 rebounds, it was junior guard Chandler Smith who provided a much needed second scorer for the team. She was looking for her shot in the last game, but they weren’t falling. This time she filled up the stat sheet with 16 points and six rebounds. Laura Stockton was the third double-digit scorer with 11 points, but had more turnovers than assists (6-5).

The men aren’t the only team playing a high-profile non-conference tournament. The women will be taking part in the Play 4 Kay shootout, in honor of the late legendary NC State coach Kay Yow, who recently lost her battle with cancer. Some of the best teams in the countries will be participating in the event, which starts Thursday.

Stay tuned for a preview of the teams in the event. But one things for sure... if the girls can’t shoot better than 20% from three, they’re going to get embarrassed. Let’s hope that the road altitude can be both blamed for the early shooting struggles, as well as crediting them for getting the girls ready for this week’s big battles.