Gonzaga took care of Pacific with major scoring runs to start the game and the second half, winning 69-58. The 11-point margin was closer than it felt, with Gonzaga still able to keep the Tigers at arm’s distance in moments where shots weren’t falling.
Sometimes these WCC games for the Gonzaga women can come down to “we have Kaylynne Truong and Brynna Maxwell shooting bombs and you don’t.” The backcourt duo of Maxwell and Truong combined for 38 points and 11 for 17 shooting from behind the arc.
That was much of the difference in the first half, where the Zags ended the first quarter up 20 to 7, but a combination of turnovers and defensive lapses allowed for the Pacific Tigers to find their way still within range of the Zags, trailing 25-34 half. Gonzaga had 9 first-half turnovers, spread evenly between 8 players.
The Zags returned to form in the third quarter, going on a 19-4 run at one point and holding Pacific to 40% shooting (35% before a bank shot at the buzzer by Erica Adams) as opposed to their torrid 60% for the period, including 5 for 6 from three.
But the fourth quarter was much like the second, with the Zags letting the Tigers come back and stick around. Pacific trailed by as little as 11 in the fourth, and the Zags didn’t make a field goal for the final 7:13 of the game, missing their final 9 shots.
Eliza Hollingsworth showcased the dangers of having a stretch forward with the shooting of this backcourt, adding 8 points of her own and grabbing 6 rebounds along with 3 assists. The ball moved well for the Zags, with six players recording 2 assists or more in the game.
The bench play was notable tonight and moving forward. Maud Huijbens played her first minutes in 2023, and her first appearance since November 21st against Tennessee. She added 4 points, 4 rebounds and a steal in her 12 minutes back on the floor. Re-integrating the 6’3 big will be crucial in tune-ups leading into March and should help ensure Yvonne Ejim is at her healthiest come tournament action (Zags only needed 19 minutes from Ejim tonight).
Along with Huijbens’ return, Destiny Burton offered solid contributions in her rotational minutes for much-needed frontcourt depth leading up to the tournament. Burton also added 4 points along with an offensive rebound and 2 assists.
Gonzaga is now 24-3 on the season and next plays Saint Mary’s at home on Saturday.