A combination of their trademark ruthless defense combined with some poor shot selection by the Pepperdine Waves led to one of the biggest point disparities this season, as the Zags absolutely crushed Pepperdine, 70-36.
The Zags began this game minus one from each set of their twins. Starting forward LeeAnne Wirth and backup point guard Kayleigh Truong were both in street clothes (Wirth with a boot on) with ankle injuries that were announced to be day-to-day. Considering that the two players average a healthy amount of points between the two, it would be understandable if the Zags took a slight step back this evening.
However, the depth wasn’t having any of it. Melody Kempton earned the first start of her career, finishing with 12 points and six rebounds. Like all good deep squads do, the Zags dug their heels in and chipped in from all over the place. The way the offense and defense was flowing, you could hardly tell that LeeAnne or Kayleigh were absent.
Jill Townsend, Jenn Wirth, and Katie Campbell each led the Zags with a double-double. Townsend scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Campbell scored 12 and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Wirth added 10 points and 10 rebounds. Jessie Loera finished with eight rebounds, moving into sixth all-time in career assists.
As always, the defense took no prisoners. Gonzaga held Pepperdine to just 22 percent shooting in the first half as they took 37-18 lead. The Waves couldn’t muster much else in the second half, and Gonzaga held Pepperdine to just 20.3 percent from the floor, leading to an absolutely bonkers 57-32 rebounding edge.
In a year of stellar defensive performances, this one probably takes the cake. For the full 40 minutes, the Zags made Pepperdine’s life absolutely miserable. Although Pepperdine is far from a top 25 team, the way the Zags have been playing as of late, it is getting harder and harder to contain the excitement for March Madness. The Zags haven’t been in the second week for years. For the entire season, this squad is showing it belongs in the upper echelon of basketball. Tonight was a prime example.