A 16 point, eight rebound, seven steal performance by Gonzaga University women’s basketball senior Haiden Palmer helped the Zags defeat the University of San Diego 66-48 Thursday night at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.
The 18-point victory was the sixth-straight double-figure West Coast Conference win in a row for the 20th ranked Bulldogs, who are now 23-3 on the year and 13-1 in league.
San Diego fell to 19-6 overall and 8-6 in the West Coast Conference with the loss and was dealt its first home loss of the season after winning 13-straight.
It was Palmer’s 21st double-digit outing of the season and third-straight after the guard hit 5-of-12 from the field and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe for her team-high 16 points. The Moreno Valley, Calif. native, who is second in the career record book for steals, added seven to that number and now has picked a season-most 81.
Sophomore sub Kiara Kudron was crucial off the bench for Gonzaga, scoring a career-tying high 12 points – six in each half. The forward, who was nearly perfect from the field, hitting 5-of-6, along with 2-of-2 at the free throw line, also grabbed two rebounds and blocked two shots in 15 minutes of play.
A total of nine Zags scored in the victory, with junior Keani Albanez the only other to break double-figures, finishing with 12.
Torero Sophia Ederaine flustered the Bulldogs all night, scoring 21 points and grabbing nine rebounds – both game-highs. The center hit 7-of-11 from the field and was fouled and sent to the line six times – all in the second half – and sank 7-of-10.
San Diego’s leading scorer Amy Kame – averaging 16.4 points per game and 17.9 points in West Coast Conference games – was held to seven points on 2-of-10 shooting. Three of her seven points came at the charity stripe.
The game was close early in the first half – a 3-point battle at 18-15 – until a 10-2 run by Gonzaga broke open an 11-point edge at 28-17 with 3:32 to play in the first. Palmer was the catalyst, beginning the run with back-to-back jumpers, and then made a hustle steal that lead to an Albanez fastbreak layup. Palmer had eight of the 10 points in the crucial spurt.
Gonzaga ended the half with a 14-point advantage at 36-22. Kudron and Palmer combined for six of the Zags final nine points.
The Toreros were able to slice the Bulldogs edge to just nine points - at 38-29 – 3:20 into the second half. It was Ederaine would made the push, hitting two free throws and converting an old fashion 3-point play to put the lead at nine.
A layup by Kudron sparked a 13-4 run though to brake open the game for the Zags and put their advantage at 20-points, 62-42 with 5:43 remaining. Sophomore Elle Tinkle ended the run for GU with back-to-back buckets; a mid-range jumper and a back-door lay-in.
The 20-point advantage was the largest of the game for Gonzaga.
Senior point guard Jazmine Redmon – who only played eight minutes in the first meeting between the two schools - due to a high ankle sprain – was a steady force all evening. Redmon scored six points, dished out five assists, had no turnovers, and made five steals in a team-high 32 minutes of action.
Gonzaga now closes out its final league roadtrip with a game at BYU. The Cougars and Bulldogs will battle at 1 p.m. PT.