While it was a back and forth battle in Spokane between these two programs, things were a bit different in Moraga for the Gonzaga women. From the opening tip, Gonzaga had the lead, and required Saint Mary’s to play catch-up all game long.
The Zags got a bit of separation in the second quarter, racing out to a double-digit lead. Saint Mary’s made a comeback in the third quarter, holding the Zags to just 10 total points, and trailing by just three.
But Chandler Smith of the Zags rose to the occasion, scoring some key buckets to get the lead back to double figures, and the Gaels could never get close enough for the rest of the way. Gonzaga made the free throws needed to win 73-65 in Moraga. Jill Barta had a rough shooting night against the frontocurt of the Gaels, but still led the way with 19 points. Smith had 17, and Zykera Rice also was in double figures with 11 points.
For Saint Mar’y senior guard Stella Beck lead all scorers with 23 points. Sydney Raggio and Megan McKay each had 12 points and seven rebounds, but the lead scorer McKay fouled out towards the end, and all the frontcourt players for them were in foul trouble throughout. Same thing for the guards for the Zags.
When it comes to the team’s stats, they were very similar. Both teams shot evenly, and although the Gaels had 12 more rebounds, it didn’t equal to an advantage in the paint. Saint Mary’s shot 5-15 from deep while Gonzaga was 2-8.
But remember when I said in the preview that this Gaels team doesn’t force turnovers and gives it up themselves, that turned out to be the difference in this one. Gonzaga had just 10 mistakes compared to Saint Mary’s 22, and that was the same number of points the Zags got off of them. That’s why they won this game.
Gonzaga 14-4 (7-0) now returns home to face Santa Clara 5-13 (1-6) who’s coming off a 58-54 loss at home to San Francisco. This team does not score much, but does have a forward in Morgan McGuire who can pose problems down low as she’s now second all time in school history in blocks.
As long as there’s no emotional let down, it should be an easy one at 5:00 p.m. ET./ 2:00 p.m. PT on Saturday. Go Zags!