The Gonzaga women came out sluggish and barely escaped LMU with a victory on Monday. There was no comeback needed Wednesday night in Malibu. Jenn Wirth and Jill Townsend both recorded double-doubles as the 23rd ranked Bulldogs led wire-to-wire to defeat Pepperdine, 58-42.
Townsend came out ready to roll for the Zags, hitting two mid-range jumpers and assisting on another right away. Gonzaga quickly jumped out to a 12-3 lead in the first quarter. Pepperdine slowly crawled their way back, eventually tying it at 26, but Gonzaga scored the final four points to take a 30-26 advantage into the half. Despite shooting just 37 percent, Gonzaga was able to own the rebounding battle. Wirth had 10 rebounds at halftime, while Townsend had eight to go with her nine points.
Wirth came out and buried the Waves in the third quarter. Her six early points kick-started a 9-0 run that gave Gonzaga some breathing room. They held the Waves to just seven points in the third quarter and were able to cruise the rest of the way.
This felt like a game we have seen from Lisa Fortier’s crew many times over the last couple of seasons. The defense leads the charge while the offense puts together a grinder of a performance. In most cases, Gonzaga wears you down with defense and depth. Tonight, they wore down the Waves on the glass. The Zags grabbed a whopping 49 rebounds to the Waves’ 21. Gonzaga’s 18 offensive rebounds led to a 14-4 second chance points advantage. In a game where Gonzaga turned the ball over 20 times, the rebounding and defense (Pepperdine shot 33%) carried them to a win.
Jenn finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Townsend matched her with 13 points and 11 rebounds. LeeAnne Wirth nearly became the third double-double of the night, scoring 12 points and grabbing seven boards.
Gonzaga is now 7-2 overall and 2-0 in West Coast Conference play. They return back to Spokane to host Saint Mary’s on Saturday afternoon and Pacific on Monday night. I hope the team enjoyed the weather in Southern California the last couple of days because Spokane is in the middle of a 24-hour storm totaling nearly a foot of snow.