Bulldogs snag 64-44 win at San Francisco

Bulldogs snag 64-44 win at San Francisco

The No. 15/16 Gonzaga women’s basketball team picked up a 64-44 win against San Francisco Saturday afternoon at the War Memorial Gym in San Francisco. The Bulldogs shot 57.1 percent in the final quarter and finished with five blocks to put the Dons away.

The Bulldogs lost the rebounding battle for just the fifth time this season as the Dons posted a 42-33 advantage on the glass, but Gonzaga locked down defensively, limiting the Dons to 30.5 percent shooting while scoring 21 points off 15 USF turnovers.

Gonzaga (25-3, 14-2 WCC) finished with three players in double-figures, led by Chandler Smith with 14 points, five rebounds and two assists. Zykera Rice added 12 points, five boards and a season-high three blocks while Jill Townsend finished with 10 points and a team-high six rebounds.

Gonzaga struggled to find its rhythm early, missing its first three shots, but a jumper from Rice at the 6:01 mark gave the Bulldogs their first basket and halted a 7-0 Dons run. San Francisco (6-21, 2-14 WCC) responded with two-straight buckets to take a nine-point lead (11-2), but Gonzaga forced four turnovers for 10 points to close the period on a 10-2 run to cut San Francisco’s lead to one, 13-12.

Rice once again opened the scoring for the Zags as she hit a jumper to start the second period to give the Bulldogs a 14-13 advantage. Gonzaga shot 58.3 percent from the floor in the second quarter and forced four more turnovers on the Dons while limiting USF to 23.0 percent shooting. Gonzaga outscored San Francisco 15-7 in the second to take a 27-20 lead heading into the break.

Two minutes into the third, the Bulldogs had extended their lead to nine (32-23), and with four minutes to go in the period Gonzaga had extended that lead to 11 (36-25). Yet San Francisco continued to chip away, twice cutting GU’s lead to six in the final 1:30. With 10 seconds to go in the third, USF’s Abby Rathbun had a tip-in to trail Gonzaga 38-32. On the next possession, Townsend drained a jumper at the buzzer to give the Bulldogs a 40-32 advantage heading into the final quarter.

San Francisco twice cut GU’s lead to six in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, but a jumper from Jessie Loera at the 7:47 mark ignited an 8-0 run to put GU up by 14 (51-37). Gonzaga shot 57.1 percent in the fourth and limited USF to just 12 fourth-quarter points to cruise to the 64-44 victory.

San Francisco was led by Shannon Powell with a game-high 20 points to go along with a game-high nine rebounds and three steals.

Gonzaga returns home to host Pepperdine Thursday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. in the McCarthey Athletic Center.