The Gonzaga Bulldogs ended up beating Montana 82-67 on Wednesday night, but the game felt much closer for the first three quarters.
In the final nonconference game of the year and the final game before the holidays, Montana gave Gonzaga a push throughout the game, cutting a 13-point deficit in the second quarter down to 2 early in the third quarter. Every time the Zags would piece together a little run the Grizzlies would answer with tough shots. That was until the fourth quarter when the Zags outscored the Grizz 24-13 in the final 10 minutes.
The Zags shot 51% from the field and 50% from outside but couldn’t build a massive lead until late due to turnover issues and the Grizzlies responding with tough makes of their own throughout the game. The Zags had 17 turnovers on the night, around 4 more than their 13.7 average on the season.
Brynna Maxwell helped build that first run in the first half, scoring 18 points on 6 for 10 from the field and 4 for 5 from outside. Maxwell led the team in scoring with 23 points, but it was a team effort as the Zags saw four other players score double-digts as well. Fresh off of two 20-plus point games, Kaylynne Truong was the scorer to put their foot on the gas in the fourth, hitting 3 three-pointers after going 1 for 6 in the first three quarters. She had 18 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds.
Yvonne Ejim continues to be a consistent, efficient scorer and rebounder, scoring 15 points on just 9 shot attempts while also bringing down 9 rebounds. McKayla Williams continues to develop as a two-way player in her expanded role. Wednesday night’s win was the third game of the season that she scored double-digits (11) and had a packed stat line of 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and a block to go with her scoring.
Eliza Hollingsworth showcased a continued diverse skillset, scoring inside and out with 13 points on 50% shooting from the field with 6 rebounds.
The Zags are now 7-1 since their trip to the Bahamas that left them without Kayleigh Truong and Maud Huijbens, highlighting Lisa Fortier’s ability to adapt to personnel and leaning on their defensive philosophy. Opponents are shooting 39% from the field and around .9 points per possession when facing Fortier’s squad.
Kayleigh Truong and Bree Salenbien continue to be out indefinitely, something to keep an eye on heading into conference play. Huijbens’ return from a concussion seems imminent but Fortier has shown a commitment not to rush her back before she’s ready. Luckily, the Zags have enough depth to lean on Kaylynne Truong, Maxwell, Ejim, Eliza Hollingsworth and Williams to play extended minutes.