Career day from Wirth leads Gonzaga to 8th straight win

Gonzaga is back, looking to take the final step to a title

SPOKANE, Wash. — The No. 21/23 Gonzaga women’s basketball team picked up a 79-59 victory over Pacific Monday evening inside the McCarthey Athletic Center. With the win, Gonzaga extended its win streak to eight games, and it remains undefeated in West Coast Conference play.

“These guys are tough, but our team did a really good job for the second-consecutive night of following the scout and defending [Pacific] how we had intended,” Head Coach Lisa Fortier said. “We did a really good job of guarding people how we wanted to, and I really liked how different people stepped up.”

Players like Kaylynne Truong, who registered a career-high nine assists in the win, shattering her previous career-high of four. Truong added seven points and two rebounds to her stat line. Gonzaga also saw double-figure scoring efforts from Melody Kempton (11 points) and Cierra Walker (11 points), in addition to a career-high and game-high 26 points from Jenn Wirth. Wirth finished 11-of-14 from the floor and added a perfect 4-of-4 performance from the charity stripe. She added seven rebounds and one block.

Gonzaga (9-2, 4-0 WCC) shot 54.9 percent from the floor in the win and won the rebounding battle once again with a 34-29 edge on the glass. The Zags forced 13 turnovers on Pacific (3-2, 1-1 WCC), which led to 19 points, while controlling the paint with a 34-24 point advantage.

Hot shooting from the Zags in the first half gave them the advantage early as they claimed a 7-2 lead 90 seconds into regulation. Yet seven first-quarter turnovers enabled Pacific to hang around, and the Tigers twice cut GU’s lead to three points in the final minute. A trey from Walker—her third of the first quarter—with 11 seconds to go put GU ahead by six heading into the second.

Another superb shooting effort in the second stanza coupled with solid defense pushed the Zags ahead, extending the lead by as many as 17 points. GU limited the Tigers to 26.7 percent shooting in the second and entered the break with a 16-point lead (44-28).

The Zags went without a field goal until the 5:51 mark of the third, and a couple of buckets from Pacific cut the lead to 12 (46-34) with 2:38 to go in the quarter. Yet that would be the closest the Tigers would come as GU surged ahead, shooting 75.0 percent in the final quarter for 25 points to put Pacific away. The Bulldogs maintained a double-digit lead the remainder of the game to earn the 79-59 win.

Pacific finished with two players in double-figures, led by Valerie Higgins with 11 points while Kaylin Randhawa added 10 points. Brooklyn McDavid led the effort on the glass with a team-high five rebounds.

Gonzaga continues play at home Saturday, Jan. 9 against Portland. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. inside the McCarthey Athletic Center. Check GoZags.com for up-to-date game time information.