The Gonzaga women kicked off the 2021-2022 campaign with a 72-47 home-opening victory over the Montana State Bobcats on Thursday night, pulling ahead by 10 in the first 3 minutes of the game and never really looking back.
The Zags grew their lead by heavily taking advantage of their frontcourt size and skill, scoring 44 of their 72 points in the paint. They were led in the paint by senior Melody Kempton who provided 12 points and 10 rebounds and sophomore Yvonne Ejim who added 14 points and 8 rebounds. Gonzaga dominated the glass, outrebounding Montana State 43-27.
The first half highlighted their advantage, where the team grabbed a whopping 25 rebounds in the period. Gonzaga scored 20second-chance points in the game. Ejim and her motor was a sight to behold throughout the game, providing many of the team’s runs throughout the game. She also propelled the team to a 9-0 run early in the second half and ensured that the game would be out of reach for much of the final 20 minutes.
The leading scorer of the game was junior Kaylynne Truong who scored 16 points, 4 assists and sank all three of her 3-point shot attempts. Her twin Kayleigh also was in the double-digits, scoring 12 points with 5 assists. The team shot 50.9% from the field and 41.7% from outside.
An emphasis on defense was noticeable throughout the game as Montana State shot just 32.1% from the field and 25% from three. Kaylynne Truong led the team with 4 steals and the Zags did a tremendous job of not providing any good looks for the Bobcats. Gonzaga had 13 steals in the game as a team.
Gonzaga will look to cut down their turnovers, as they matched Montana State’s 19 errors with 18 of their own. Fortier utilized a rotation of 9 players logging 15 minutes or more, with freshman Bree Salenbien adding 12 minutes. Salenbien and sophomore McKayla Williams will look to get their offense going as they went a collective 0-8 from the field.
The Bulldogs' next game is against another Big Sky country team, as they face off against the Montana Grizzlies in Missoula. The Grizz are coming off an opening 84-46 win against Northwest Nazarene.