Coming into Friday’s opening round of the Gulf Coast Showcase, Jenn Wirth was in a 1-for-18 shooting slump. On Friday, Wirth scored a team-high 19 points in a 76-65 win over Dayton. She followed that up with another team-high 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting to lead #22 Gonzaga to a 62-50 semi-final victory over Middle Tennessee. Melody Kempton added 10 points off the bench.
Much like the Dayton game, the first half was a tight one. Katie Campbell led the Zags with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. In the third quarter, as they often do, Gonzaga took off. They fed the ball inside to Jenn and LeeAnne Wirth, with the two of them combining for 18 points, eight rebounds and zero turnovers in the second half.
Defense has become a staple for Lisa Fortier’s squad. They held Middle Tennessee to 31.7 percent shooting overall and a 1-for-7 mark from deep in the second half. On the other side of the ball, Gonzaga shot 52 percent, but had 19 turnovers. When they weren’t turning the ball over, they were scoring with relative ease.
They will need to keep the turnovers to a minimum on Sunday. They face a 6-0 Purdue team that beat Arizona State in their semi-final game and has held their two opponents to 29 and 28 percent shooting. The championship game will tip at 4:30 pm pacific and can be watched online (paywall). A title game win would move GU to 6-1 and they should continue their climb in the polls.