PORTLAND - It was an all-important run to open the second half that helped the Gonzaga University women's basketball team earn a 54-40 victory at Portland State University Friday evening at the Peter W. Stott Center. After leading for just 19 seconds in the first half, Gonzaga began the second on a 16-4 run to break the halftime tie and finally take command of the game.
Gonzaga (8-2) had nine players score in the game and was led by junior Haiden Palmer with game and season-high 21 points.
Portland State (5-2) was led by Angela Misa and Courtney VanBrocklin with 12 points and 10 points, respectively.
It was the defense early in the second half that sparked the crucial momentum shifting run. Of the seven buckets in the run, Gonzaga scored five after it stole the ball on the defensive end.
Junior Jazmine Redmon started things off with a steal, which resulted in a layup by senior Taelor Karr. Karr returned the favor two minutes later. All-in-all Redmon had two of the five steals, while junior Stephanie Golden also made two steals.
Palmer kept the Vikings at bay late in the final half with eight of the Zags final 13 points. She even scored back-to-back buckets to turn a slight seven point edge into an 11-point advantage with 6:48 to play in the game.
Gonzaga would hold Portland State to just 17 points in the second half.
For the game, Gonzaga shot a respectable 38.6 percent from the field, hitting 22-o-f-57, including 14-of-30 in the second stanza.
The Bulldogs also forced 21 turnovers, had 15 steals, and scored 23 points off the home team's miscues.
It was a tough first half for the Bulldogs as they hit just 8-of-27 from the field for a 29.6 shooting percentage and turned the ball over an uncharacteristic 12 times.
Gonzaga didn't get on the scoreboard until the 15:01 mark. Prior to that, the Bulldogs turned the ball over on six of their first eight possessions and missed the two field goals they did get up.
After Golden scored GU's first points - a lay-in to cut Portland State's lead to 4-2 - it went on to score the next four points to take a slim 6-4 advantage. The Vikings responded with an 8-0 run of their own to recapture the lead at 12-6; a lead they would hold until Palmer drained a 3-pointer with 40.0 ticks remaining on the clock to tie the game 23-23 at intermission.
It was Palmer that got Gonzaga back into the game, scoring seven of the Zags final 11 points. She finished the half with a game-leading 11 points.
Portland State spread its first half scoring between six different players and was led by Misa with six points, despite two early fouls.
Gonzaga returns to action Sunday when it hosts Cal State Fullerton at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The game is set to tip at 2 p.m.