SPOKANE, Wash. -
The Gonzaga Bulldogs won their 10th-straight game and moved to 8-0 in the West Coast Conference on Saturday with a 71-44 win over Santa Clara in front of a sellout crowd inside the McCarthey Athletic Center.
The Zags forced 23 Bronco turnovers, tying the season high, and making for 55 forced turnovers in the last two games. They turned that into 11 steals, led by four from Jenn Wirth, for 25 points off turnovers. Zykera Rice and Jill Barta were both seven-of-10 from the field for 18 and 16 points respectively, as each added four boards. Emma Stach joined them in double figures with 12 points on five-of-seven shooting including two-of-three from distance. Chandler Smith and Jessie Loera led with five boards and Laura Stockton led the way with six assists and only one turnover.
The Zags hit five of their first seven shots with six points from Barta and a three from Stach forcing a SCU timeout at the 5:54 mark, as GU led 12-4. The Zags took a 19-8 lead into the second quarter. They shot 44 percent from the field in the first quarter, forcing seven Santa Clara turnovers for nine points off turnovers. GU scored 12 points in the paint, led by Barta who finished with eight. They held SCU to 31 percent shooting. The Zags built on that lead and led 27-13 at the 4:54 mark of the second quarter. They were shooting 50 percent at that point and Barta hit double figures with 10. The SCU turnover total hit 10. The Broncos went scoreless for five-and-a-half minutes late in the quarter as GU went on a 14-0 run. Rice broke into double figures with 10 during that run, and the Broncos hit 15 turnovers. Gonzaga led 40-16 at half, the lowest single-half total they have allowed this season. They finished shooting 55 percent from the field, forced 16 SCU turnovers for 19 points. They dominated points in the paint, 20-8, and Barta, 12, and Rice, 10, both hit double figures. The Zags added six assists, led by Stockton with two, and seven steals, with Jenn Wirth leading with three.
Stockton hit two free throws early to build the lead to 26, the largest of the game to that point, but seven minutes into the third quarter SCU was able to get the lead under 20, at 19, 50-31. The Bulldogs hit six of their last nine shots in the quarter and led 56-33 after three. Santa Clara scored 17 points in the quarter, one more than they had at half. Stach joined Rice and Barta in double figures with 10 points. Santa Clara had another scoreless streak hit five-and-a-half total minutes in the fourth as the GU lead hit 31 the largest of the game, with three minutes left. The Zags won comfortably, 71-44.
GU held SCU to 38 percent shooting and dished 15 assists. They made 14 of their 18 free throws.
Gonzaga (15-4, 8-0 WCC), now maintains a two-game lead almost midway through the WCC-schedule as BYU dropped their game to San Diego on Saturday. The Zags stay at home and host Portland at 6 pm on Thursday. Live links are available at GoZags.com.