No. 14/15 Bulldogs defeat Portland 97-71

No. 14/15 Bulldogs defeat Portland 97-71

The No. 14/15 Gonzaga women’s basketball team defeated visiting Portland 97-71 Saturday afternoon at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Gonzaga (16-1, 5-0 WCC) was led by Zykera Rice with a career-high 28 points off 11-of-13 from the floor to go along with seven boards and three assists. Laura Stockton added a career-high of her own with 19 points to go along with six boards and six assist to move into fourth all-time in program history for career assists with 401. Jill Townsend and Melody Kempton rounded out the double-figure scoring with 11 and 10, respectively.

The Bulldogs dominated Portland (8-8, 0-5 WCC) inside with a 42-26 advantage in the paint while owning the glass with a season-high 58 rebounds including 22 offensive boards. The Zags finished with 23 second-chance points while forcing 16 turnovers on the Pilots.

Gonzaga opened the first quarter on a tear, shooting 65 percent from the floor for 29 points. The Zags had 10 assists on 13 field goals in the opening period; LeeAnne Wirth led the Zags with eight points off a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor. The Bulldogs held the Pilots to 31.3 percent shooting in the opening period and outscored them 10-4 in the paint while forcing seven turnovers to lead 29-13.

“We did get the first quarter that we wanted; we wanted to come out with lots of energy,” head women’s basketball coach Lisa Fortier said. “[Portland] is an energetic team and they can score in a variety of different ways…So we wanted to set the tone early.”

The Bulldogs opened the second on a 4-0 run to extend their lead to 18 (33-15), but Portland battle back, capping a 10-4 run to cut GU’s lead to 12 (37-25) with 4:29 to go. The Zags closed the period with a 12-7 run, including a buzzer-beating jumper from Townsend, to lead 49-32 heading into the break.

In the second half, the Bulldogs outscored Portland 48-40, shooting 48.7 from the floor. Gonzaga led by as many as 28 in the fourth quarter and nearly broke the 100-point barrier, finishing with a final 97-72 win.

Portland was led by Jayce Gorzeman and Julie Spencer with 15 points each while Darian Slaga and Haylee Andrews added 14 and 10 points, respectively.

BYU is up next for the Zags as they travel to Provo, Utah to take on the Cougars Thursday, Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. PT.