Dominant Second And Third Quarters Leads To Zags 12th-Straight Win
SAN FRANCISCO — Gonzaga dominated San Francisco in the second and third quarters, and won big again, 81-57, at USF on Saturday afternoon for their 12th-straight win.
Jill Barta led Gonzaga with 24 points, her seventh 20+ point game of the year, and nine rebounds. Zykera Rice joined her in double figures with 14, and Laura Stockton, Jenn Wirth, and Chandler Smith all scored eight. GU shot 51 percent from the field and outscored USF 55-21 in the second and third quarters. They forced 20 turnovers, the third time that has happened in four games. Jessie Loera had seven points and six assists off the bench.
Rice opened the game with a short corner jumper, but USF scored on their first two possessions leading 5-2. The Zags had a couple shots go in and out, and trailed 7-4 at the 3:53 mark. Barta hit her second baseline spinner and GU led 8-7 with two minutes left in the quarter. After going on a three-and-a-half minute field goal drought, USF scored the final four points and led 13-11 after one. Barta scored six points to lead GU. USF grabbed a 16-11 lead with an early three in the second quarter, but paint points from Barta and Rice, and a drive from Rice regained the lead, 17-16. Loera drilled a three and USF took a timeout, GU leading 20-16, three minutes into the second. The USF drought hit two-and-a-half minutes as GU completed the 9-0 run. Both teams went scoreless for over two minutes before Stockton found Barta with a beautiful wrap around pass in transition. The USF scoreless streak reached five-plus minutes and GU went on a 10-0 run. Barta led all GU with 14 points and five rebounds. Rice added eight and Stockton had four points, three rebounds, two assists, and forced multiple turnovers. GU shot 47 percent and held USF to 30 percent. Gonzaga outscored the Dons in the paint, 16-6, and 8-0 off the bench.
Gonzaga opened the half on a 9-0 run with seven points coming in transition, leading 43-22 with six minutes left in the quarter. Gonzaga hit a two-minute scoreless streak, but USF only closed the lead to 17 before Barta hit another spinning jumper. The USF scoreless streak hit three minutes as GU built a 26-point lead, their largest of the game to that point. Loera beat the buzzer with a running hook and GU led 56-34 after three. Gonzaga forced six turnovers in the quarter as points off turnovers reached 20 for GU. Rice broke into double figures with 12 points and Stockton had four assists. GU stayed hot, shooting 56 percent in the quarter.
USF hit two early threes in the fourth to cut the lead to 16, 58-42. Barta doused the run with an offensive rebound and putback to hit 20 points. The Dons trimmed the lead to 15, but Jenn Wirth rebounded her own shot, and found Smith in corner for a three as GU led 71-48 with five minutes left. Emma Stach hit one more three and GU won going away, 81-57.
The Zags shot 51 percent, led on the glass, 41-35, and outscored USF in the paint, 46-18. GU dished 18 assists with Stockton adding four to Loera’s six. They scored 23 points off those 20 USF turnovers for 12 steals, led by Stockton and Barta with three each.
“Our team played a great offensive game today,” Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier said. “We rebounded, we finished tough plays around the basket, and knocked down some threes. San Francisco plays so hard and they have some very versatile players. They made a hard push, but we were able to finish the game out on the road.”
The Zags (17-4, 10-0 WCC) broke a two-game skid at War Memorial Gymnasium and after BYU lost to Pacific, now hold a three-game lead in the West Coast Conference. GU remains on the road all week next week, beginning with San Diego on Thursday at 6 pm. Live links are available at GoZags.com.