Though it wasn’t easy, and basically downright sloppy at times, they pulled through. The Gonzaga women traveled down to Sin City to take on UNLV on Saturday afternoon at Cox Pavilion. Both teams started out fairly sluggish, which has been characteristic of the Zags so far this year. Gonzaga almost ran down the shot clock on multiple early possessions and both teams had a couple of shooting fouls.
Describing the first ten minutes as sloppy would be an understatement. Melody Kempton missed two great opportunities, but thankfully redeemed herself by making a quick jumper after receiving an aggressive pass from Stockton. Katie Campbell fouled Justice Ethridge while shooting a 3-pointer – Ethridge made all three free throws. Numerous careless passes by the Zags led to the Lady Rebels grabbing the ball and scoring another three. However, Jill Townsend answered with her own triple at the other end. To close out the first quarter, Stockton missed two 3-point attempts.
Going in to the second quarter, it was obvious that the freshman, Justice Ethridge, was leading the offense for the Lady Rebels but then was fairly quiet the rest of the game. Zykera Rice had been silent in scoring early on, but seemed to get it going a bit in the second – she made a couple of nice jumpers and a free throw. UNLV’s Katie Powell had some great moments – she hit nothing but net from mid-range and also put up an NBA-range three. Even though as a whole, the Zags struggled from beyond the arc, Katie Campbell made her second triple of the game. Gonzaga ran a 2-3 zone defense for most of the game which seemingly caused problems for UNLV as they lost the ball several times, including turning the ball over inside the paint for three straight possessions. The Zags went on an 8-0 run to end the half leading 34-27.
The second half saw much of the same besides the fact that the Zags played at a bit of a higher pace. Rice made a few more quality jump shots and had a monster of a block down the stretch. Stockton was quiet on the scoreboard but polished up her passes which led to some valuable points from the rest of the team. Jessie Loera made a three with one minute to go. Down the stretch, both teams missed 3-point attempts and GU held the ball to win the game 70-59.
As we’ve seen with this Gonzaga team so far this year, their defense is what really brings them through and helps them win. However, there are two sides of the coin and the offense needs to be well-oiled as we get further into the season.