The Gonzaga Women will face off against USD this afternoon at the McCarthey Center in a matchup available only on ESPN+ starting at 5pm EST.
I covered San Diego in my WCC preview series here so check that out if you want some additional background on the team from their non-conference slate.
This represents the Torero’s third road game in a row and they will be looking not just to upset the Zags, but also break into the win column in conference play as they’ve lost against Pepperdine, St. Mary’s, and Portland to start their slate. However, their chances are likely minimal given that Gonzaga has defeated their first two WCC opponents, the number two and three preseason Coaches’ Poll selections, by 19 and 38 points.
In their first three conference matchups, the Toreros have yet to eclipse sixty points (52, 59, and 54) and yet to shoot greater than forty percent (29%, 37%, and 36%). Their only real bright spots have been Kasey Neubert, Kylie Hortsmeyer, and Veronica Sheffey as they’re the only players to have scored in double digits so far in conference play. Outside of those players, only two players have scored more than 5 points and both did that in the game against lowly Pepperdine.
Kasey Neubert has been leading her team in scoring during the conference slate with just over 15 points per game at a 50% clip while also contributing just over 12 rebounds per game. I’d imagine her rebounding numbers owe some to her team’s overall poor shooting, but she was averaging 10 heading into conference play so how the Bulldogs control the glass will be interesting to watch.
With only three players shooting more than 1 three pointer per game and the team ranked 26th in the nation for 2PA, I’m expecting Gonzaga to pack the paint and force the Toreros to beat them from outside. However, that will be easier said than done as Veronic Sheffey is currently averaging just over 5 assists per game and I’m excited to see how she’ll work her magic. If Gonzaga can restrict her distribution and force her into turnovers (currently averaging just under 4 per game and committed 9 last game against Portland) then I’m not sure how San Diego’s can function.
For Gonzaga, I think the key on offense will be avoiding complacent after big wins against the number two and three WCC preseason selections. Given that this game will be played in Spokane, I just don’t see the Toreros heading back to San Diego with a win unless the Bulldogs partied too hard after their victory on Thursday.
As a reminder, this article also serves as the open game thread so be sure to hit the comments below during the matchup to share your thoughts!