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Zags push past Saint Mary’s with big fourth quarter push, 66-53

The Zags got it done on the line.

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The Gonzaga Bulldogs used a big fourth-quarter push to outpace the Saint Mary’s Gaels, 66-53, on Saturday afternoon for their fifth-straight conference win.

The Gaels’ defense caused lots of issues for the Zags, who struggled to find decent shots and finished shooting a rather dismal 36.7 percent from the floor. Between the turnovers and Saint Mary’s defense, the offense just could not get into any sort of groove for the better part of 30 minutes.

Entering the fourth quarter, the Zags held just a one-point lead over the Gaels. Ali Bamberger, who finished with 22 points, and Madeline, who finished with 13 points, were providing just enough offense for the Gaels to stay within striking distance.

However, a basketball game is 40 minutes, and the Zags established themselves in the paint for the fourth quarter, driving to the hoop and drawing fouls when the shots were hard to come by. Gonzaga finished overall shooting 18-of-22 from the free throw line, a sum of free points that would be the difference in the game. The Gaels only attempted seven free throws overall.

The Truong twins led the Zags with 14 points each, although Kayleigh needed 12 shots to reach that number. Yvonne Ejim chipped in 13 points, and also was not her usual efficient self around the rim, needing 11 field goal attempts. She did go a critical 5-for-5 from the line to help pad her stat line.

The versatility of this Zags’ squad was on display this afternoon in Melody Kempton’s performance. Kempton, who averages 10.8 points per game, finished with just two field goal attempts and two points off of free throws. She was relentless on the offensive glass, however, getting four of her 10 rebounds for extra chances. She also did a nice job of dishing out four assists and blocked two shots.

The Zags continue a road trip of southern California next week, playing Pepperdine on Thursday and San Diego on Saturday.