Zags Win 14th-Straight Game, Down BYU 84-70
PROVO, Utah — The Gonzaga Bulldogs ended BYU’s 23-game home West Coast Conference win streak and never trailed in an 84-70 win on the road on Saturday afternoon.
Jill Barta added to her school record with her sixth-career 30-plus point game with 34 points and 15 rebounds, her ninth double-double of the year on nine-of-10 shooting. Emma Stach made WCC-leading scorer Cassie Devashrayee work all night, and added 16 points, her season high, on six-of-10 shooting and three-of-five from three. Chandler Smith added nine rebounds and seven points, and Laura Stockton dished a season-high eight assists. Smith added seven dimes. GU shot 48.1 percent from the field and held BYU to 40.9 percent.
BYU had three offensive rebounds through the first two minutes, but Stach dialed home a three and GU led 3-0. Barta rolled home a 28-footer and it was 6-0. BYU broke through with a three at 6:38, their first points. Stockton stole an inbounds pass and Barta found that 28-footer again, making it 11-3. Jenn Wirth showed no hesitation, hitting an 18-footer to put GU up 10, 15-5, with four minutes left. The Zags shot 62 percent in the quarter, leading by as much as 12, taking a 21-10 advantage into the second quarter. Barta led the way with 12 points and BYU’s Devashrayee did not score. BYU shot 25 percent going two-of-seven from three. GU made three of the four threes, with Barta hitting two as she added five boards to lead GU. GU dished eight assists, Stach and Smith with three each, and led on the glass, 11-7.
BYU scored the first five points of the second quarter, but then went scoreless for over two minutes as GU led 25-17. Gonzaga went scoreless for three minutes themselves as BYU closed to eight, but Barta hit another three, this time in the corner. Smith scored on a fast-break to make it 30-17, but BYU responded with four-straight points to make it 30-21 with 3:44 left. Stockton left one off for Jill Townsend and GU built the lead back to 11, 34-23, with three minutes left. The Zags added one more to that, and led 38-26 at the half. Barta had a first-half double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. She was perfect from the field at six-for-six. Smith added six and GU shot 50 percent, hitting four threes. Stockton dished five assists to lead all. BYU shot 31 percent from the field, and two-of-nine from three. GU dominated the glass, 23-13.
BYU scored the first four points before Barta followed a miss among four players to start the third. Stach nailed another three as Smith found her in transition, making 43-30 with 6:13 left in the third. Townsend drilled a 15-footer to make it 15, GU’s largest lead of the game to that point with five minutes left in the quarter. Barta dropped another three out of a timeout, and it expanded to 48-32. Jenn Wirth nailed another 18-footer and Jessie Loera drilled one, making the lead 17, 53-36, with three minutes left. The Zags held BYU scoreless for two minutes late in the quarter and took a 57-42 lead as Townsend drained a stepback jumper to beat the buzzer.
Zykera Rice opened the fourth with a jumper to match GU’s largest lead of the game. Stach drilled another three and followed a GU miss with a three-point play to break into double-figures at 12, putting GU ahead 65-44, Gonzaga’s largest lead of the game. BYU put a charge together and closed to 69-55 with five minutes left in the game on a 7-0 run. Five more from the Cougars made it 70-60 with four minutes left. Stach broke a three-and-a-half minute field goal drought for GU and Gonzaga went back up 73-60. Barta scored her 30th point on an elbow jumper with two minutes left as Gonzaga went back up 15. The Zags took it from there, 84-70.
“Our team played so tough tonight,” Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier said. “We managed to maintain our composure through some BYU runs. We played great defense, on some really talented players. Jill had such a great game, and we received critical contributions from everyone.”
The Zags dominated the boards, 45-29, and had 23 assists, two short of their season high. The Zags took a strangle hold on the WCC with a four-game lead on BYU with their 14th-straight victory. Gonzaga was the last WCC team to win at BYU in 2015, and all nine GU players who entered scored.
Gonzaga (19-4, 12-0 WCC) heads back home to host Pacific at 6 pm on Thursday.