Zags roll in Pullman, defeat Washington State 76-53

Zags roll in Pullman, defeat Washington State 76-53
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The No. 18/17 Gonzaga women’s basketball team defeated Washington State 76-53 Sunday afternoon inside Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, Wash.

Gonzaga (8-1) finished with four players in double-figures led by a career-high from LeeAnne Wirth with 16 points. The junior added 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. Jill Townsend added 14 points, Jenn Wirth finished with 13 and Jessie Loera added 10 with a game-high seven assists.

The Bulldogs shot 49.2 percent from the floor and an even 50 percent from long range while limiting Washington State (5-4) to 30.8 percent shooting. GU forced 15 turnovers on the Cougars, which led to 16 points for the Bulldogs, while collecting eight steals on the afternoon.

“I think our team played really well,” head coach Lisa Fortier said. “We came out ready to go. For three quarters we played really great defense, and we ran really great offense. When you’re passing the ball, you have the inside threat and an outside threat, and you’re really tough to stop. Our team played a very good game today.”

The Zags opened with a quick 11-4 run to lead by seven just four minutes into the contest; GU extended that lead to nine by the end of the first quarter. The Bulldogs forced WSU to shoot 27.8 percent from the floor in the second period and outscored the Cougars 19-10 to extend their lead to 18 heading into the break.

Gonzaga’s defensive presence continued into the second half as the Bulldogs held Washington State to 31.3 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes. The Zags controlled the paint as well, limiting the Cougars to just eight of their 30 points inside the key. Gonzaga led by as many as 29 points in the final quarter and rolled to the 76-53 victory.

“We knew going out that we had to start off right off the tip,” LeeAnne Wirth said. “They have some really talented players that we had to key in on for sure. They have a lot of depth, so it definitely was a team defensive intensity focus. We just knew we had to do that right from the tip.”

Washington State was led by Borislava Hristova with 15 points while Chanelle Molina added 12 points and eight rebounds. Jovana Subasic also finished in double-figures with 11.

Gonzaga returns to the floor Saturday, Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. inside the McCarthey Athletic Center.