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Gonzaga outlasts Portland in battle for first

Truong’s perimeter scoring helps Zags find separation

Courtesy of @ZagWBB

Saturday was a big one in Spokane. In a game celebrating Courtney Valndersloot’s jersey retirement, special pink uniforms worn to commemorate survivors and battlers of breast cancer, the Gonzaga women also had a matchup against Portland Pilots to settle who sits at the top of the WCC standings.

Gonzaga took care of business, winning 63-53, but the Zags had to scrap much of the game, leaning on defensive pressure and turnovers to stave off Portland until the offensive sparks showed up. Kaylynne Truong led the way, scoring 20 points and making 4 of 8 attempts outside to go with her 5 assists and 4 rebounds. The game also saw Truong reach her 1000th point as a Zag.

For two teams known for their scoring, it was the defenses that showed up early and loudly in the marquee game of Saturday’s WCC slate. Both Gonzaga and Portland made just 7 for 28 attempts in the first quarter.

Gonzaga, the best three-point shooting team in the country, shot 1 for 7 from outside. Portland did a notable job of disrupting Gonzaga’s offensive flow. Trailing 18-19 at the half, 13 of the Bulldogs’ points came off of turnovers or second-chance points.

The Zags shook off their offensive difficulties early in the second half, shooting 64% from the field and making 5 of 7 from outside in the third quarter. Wing McKayla Williams alongside Truong were the sparkplugs to break away from the Pilots in the third quarter. Williams was 4-5 from the field including a three along with a couple of assists during the 10-minute span that saw them outscore Portland 27 to 15. Truong had 8 points and 4 assists of her own during the third.

That was really the only offensive outburst for both teams throughout the game. Gonzaga shot 39% in the game and Portland faired about as well shooting 38%. Gonzaga lived at the free throw line in the fourth quarter, going 11 for 14 in the period. They shot 18 free throws in the entire game.

Gonzaga faces Pacific and Saint Mary’s at home next week.