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Melody Kempton’s heroics upend San Francisco, 83-82

The Zags barely escaped with the win.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Stanford at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Gonzaga Bulldogs struggled throughout much of the game, but hit key shots in the final minute, capitalizing on a questionable turnover that led to a Melody Kempton basket as time expired, giving the Zags a 83-82 win over San Francisco.

Playing on the road in San Francisco, the Dons came out hot in the first half. The Dons led 52-40 after the first 20 minutes, shooting a staggering 71 percent from the floor (20-for-28) and 8-for-12 from three-point range.

Cierra Walker did her best to keep the Zags within striking distance. The veteran scored 14 of points in the first half, hitting 4-of-6 threes in the process. However, that would be it for the senior, who went 0-for-3 in the second half.

With the Zags looking a little listless going into halftime, they successfully turned it around in the third quarter. The Zags outscored the Dons 21-7 in the third quarter, ultimately closing it out on a 14-0 run. Gonzaga dominated the paint in this frame, and Kaylynne Truong heated up, scoring eight point.

The Zags’ defense also looked dialed in. After getting torched in the first half, Gonzaga held San Francisco to just 23.1 percent from the floor in the third quarter, and took a 61-59 lead after thirty minutes.

The fourth quarter would provide a bit of excitement that, ultimately, did not go Gonzaga’s way. The Dons found their offensive groove again, just as everyone not named Kaylynne Truong couldn’t figure out how to put it in the basket. Truong scored an additional eight points in the fourth quarter, but accounted for two of the just five total field goals made by the Zags.

Gonzaga made a valiant effort as the final minute ticked down. Yvonne Ejim and Melody Kempton each hit crucial baskets, and the combination of missed free throws by the San Francisco Dons kept Gonzaga within a possession. Kempton hit two free throws to bring Gonzaga to within one point, 82-81, with seven seconds remaining.

A somewhat questionable call on Don’s guard Ioanna Krimili gave Gonzaga the ball with 1.1 seconds left on the clock. Off the inbounds pass, Kaylynne Truong found an open Melody Kempton under the hoop for the narrow win as time expired.

The Zags, whose tournament resume is on as thin of ice as possible, cannot afford another loss to really any WCC team, especially one not named BYU. The Zags tournament hopes live to see another day.