Junior Haiden Palmer scored 11 of her game-high 16 points in the first half and redshirt freshman Shelby Cheslek recorded a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Gonzaga University women’s basketball squad to a 90-48 exhibition victory over Eastern Oregon University Saturday afternoon at the McCarthey Athletic Center in front of 5,396 Bulldog fans.
The Zags had all 15 players see action in the 42-point victory with 14 scoring.
“I thought we did a lot of good things in the game,” explained Gonzaga head coach Kelly Graves. “Today was a great opportunity for all of our players, including the young kids, to play under the lights. You have to remember we have 11 underclassmen, so this exhibition game is great to get their feet wet and work on things.”
Palmer played 19 minutes for the Bulldogs and sank 6-of-10 from the floor, including 1-of-2 on 3-pointers and was 3-of-5 at the free throw line for her team-leading 16 points. The guard also made a game-high six steals, which resulted in seven points.
Cheslek, the Bulldogs 6-5 center, scored nine of her 13 points in the second half and seven of her game-high 12 boards also in the final stanza. The Pullman, Wash., native added four blocks, three steals and two assists in a team-high 20 minutes of action.
Along with Palmer and Cheslek, sophomore Sunny Greinacher also tallied double-figures, finishing with 13.
“I thought Sunny [Greinacher] played well and I thought Shelby [Cheslek] did a nice job for a freshman,” explained Graves. “Both are a big presence inside for us both offensively and defensively.”
Brooke Randal led the NAIA Mountaineers with 14 points and two assists. Teammate Tina Miller chipped in 12 points.
Gonzaga controlled the game from the start, building a double-digit lead, 17-7, 5:30 into the opening 20 minutes and pushed it to a 31-11 advantage with 9:56 to play in the half.
Ten players helped the Bulldogs to the early 20 point edge, including freshman Elle Tinkle who scored a layup to make it 31-11.
The Zags would go into halftime up 55-29 by scoring the final 10 points. Greinacher started the run with a layup, followed by three points by Palmer. Senior Meghan Winters got into the action draining one of the Bulldogs six 3-pointers in the half, while Greinacher closed the period with a jumper.
A 16-2 spurt to begin the second half broke the game wide open for Gonzaga at 71-31. Palmer had five points in the run, sophomore Keani Albanez had three and freshman Kiara Kudron capped it off with two of her four second half points.
It was Cheslek that gave the Bulldogs their largest lead. She grabbed an offensive board with four seconds left in the game and scored the put-back moments before the buzzer sounded to give GU the 42-point edge.
For the game, the Zags shot an impressive 51.4 percent (38-of-74) from the field, including 36.8 percent (7-of-19) from beyond the 3-point arc and hit just 46.7 percent (7-of-15) at the charity stripe.
Gonzaga continues to show how well they share the ball as it was credited with 24 assists on 38 baskets. Twelve players recorded at least one assist, with junior Jazmine Redmon leading the way with six.
The Bulldogs open the regular-season Friday playing at UC Riverside. Game time is set for 7 p.m.