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Gonzaga Wins WCC Opener

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Bulldogs use a second half offensive surge to improve to 12-1

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Gonzaga women rallied back from a six-point halftime deficit and used an offensive explosion in the second half en route to a 78-53 road victory over LMU to begin conference season. The win improves their overall record to 12-1. They are ranked 20th in the country.

Zykera Rice led Gonzaga with 15 points and eight rebounds. Chandler Smith put up another wild stat line of nine points, eight rebounds, four assists, six steals, and a block. Laura Stockton and Jenn Wirth each scored 10 for the Zags.

Gonzaga struggled throughout the first 20 minutes. They had 12 first half turnovers, shot 28 percent from the field, and trailed 29-23 at the intermission. Whatever was said at halftime seemed to work.

They drew up a play for Katie Campbell to open the second half and she drained a three. Zykera Rice and Laura Stockton followed with buckets, and, just like that, Gonzaga had a 30-29 lead just 90 seconds into the third quarter. They did not look back. The Bulldogs shot 12-for-19 from the field in the third quarter, received baskets from six different players, and outscored LMU 29-10. After another Campbell three and a buzzer-beating floater, Gonzaga turned their six-point deficit into a 13-point lead.

The fourth quarter was more of the same. Gonzaga’s defense and depth, as they have all season, caused major problems for the Lions. The Zags forced a whopping 25 turnovers, scoring 24 points off of them, and outscored LMU’s bench 25-14. They held LMU to just 27 percent shooting in the second half.

Because the WCC did not implement the men’s schedule change to the women’s side, all teams began play this week and will play the full 18-game slate. LMU was picked to finish fourth in the league this season, so a road win like this is pretty darn impressive. Gonzaga will now head over to Malibu for a New Year’s Eve matinee game at Pepperdine. Tip-off is at noon pacific.