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Women off to a 6-0 WCC start with another strong defensive effort

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Gonzaga took care of Portland and San Fran despite the star’s struggles

NCAA Women's Basketball: USA TODAY Sports-Archive Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

First came on the road versus Portland whose yet to win a game in league. On one hand, the Zags defense did their job by allowing only 10 points in the first quarter. Problem is, they scored just 10 points themselves. At the half, Gonzaga was only up three points, after another poor shooting display.

But it was the third quarter that proved to be the turning point, led by the Zag’s role players to push the lead to 15 behind capitalizing off the Pilots mistakes. They were able to hold steady in the fourth to win 70-56.

Jill Barta had her worst game of the season, scoring just four points in 20 minutes played. Laura Stockton had just two on the night herself. Zykera Rice led the team with 14 points, but it was the Wirth twins, who combined for 16 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Jill Townsend had a great game off the bench, with eight points and six boards.

Once again, the Zags couldn’t hit a perimeter shot, going 3/19. But they held Portland to 3/13 from three-point range as well, and had 46 rebounds (23 off) to the Pilots 29 total. Making 10 more free throws than the opponent doesn’t hurt either.

Next came home versus San Francisco, where a 39-17 halftime score all but decided the game. The star of this game was backup point guard Jessie Loera, who had career-highs in both points (16) and assists (9) in the game. She was one of four Zags in double-figures, along with Rice, Barta and Emma Stach. Chandler Smith only scored four points, but had a game-high 10 rebounds. Gonzaga won 74-47.

Just like all the other games, Gonzaga dominated inside, winning the rebounding battle 50-37. They also took advantage of the Dons turnovers, scoring 24 points off of them. The key player for San Francisco was Anna Seilund, and she needed to have a big game if there was any hope for a win. She scored just six points on 3/8 shooting. As a team, the Dons shot 30% from the field and was 3/20 from deep. Gonzaga shot 7/19 from the arc, which for them is spectacular.

The Zags stand on top of the WCC standings at 6-0, but just below them are a couple of familiar names - BYU and Saint Mary’s, who each are 5-1. The Gaels handed the Cougars their only loss earlier in Moraga, and Gonzaga will try to avoid that same fate on Thursday.