The Gonzaga women improve to a program best 10-1 record after a 70-67 true road victory over Missouri State. Gonzaga is now 3-0 in true road games. Chandler Smith led another balanced Gonzaga effort with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The 10-1 start is the best in program history and their #21 ranking is the highest since Kelly Graves was coach. They got off to a hot start today, leading the Bears 22-13 after a quarter and extended the lead to 11 at halftime. The second half was a different story. Gonzaga was plagued with foul trouble to three of their starters and Missouri State fought back.
After chipping the lead to seven to start the fourth, the Lady Bears cut the lead to one with 4:15 to go after an 8-0 run. As they have all season, Gonzaga buckled down and relied on their defense to win them the game. They held Missouri State to 2-for-9 shooting (late garbage 3) with a turnover in the final four minutes and got a huge late bucket from Zykera Rice and clutch free throw shooting to ice the victory.
Rice was 2-for-11 from the field before scoring six straight points. That’s the kind of senior leadership you ask for. Another senior, Smith, had one of her best offensive games of the season, going 6-for-10 from the field, collecting a double-double and dishing out three assists.
After missing the last two games with a concussion, Jessie Loera returned and hit a pair of threes, grabbed two rebounds, dished out two assists and collected a steal and a block in 20 minutes. Jenn Wirth also appears to be fully healthy. After missing several games with a broken finger, Wirth had a season-high 14 points off the bench for Gonzaga.
We will have more tomorrow on Gonzaga’s historic start and how they’ve done it. The Bulldogs will be back in action on Thursday in their final non-conference game of the season against Idaho.