Jan. 10, 2008
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University women's basketball opened West Coast Conference play with a 68-56 victory over Pepperdine University Thursday evening at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Wash. The Bulldogs, who improved to 10-6 overall and 1-0 in conference, have now won five-straight WCC opening contests dating back to the 2003-04 campaign. With the loss the Waves fell to 5-9 overall and 0-1 in the WCC.
Gonzaga went into the halftime with a slight three point lead at 28-25 despite a sub-par performance. The Bulldogs hit 43.8% (14-32) from the field, but couldn't sink a three-pointer in the opening stanza, going 0-for-9. The Bulldogs were also outmanned on the boards, as the Waves grabbed 19, including eight offensive, while the Zags had 16 overall.
Leading the charge for Gonzaga in the first half was sophomore Heather Bowman and senior Michelle Elliott who had eight points apiece. Freshman point guard Courtney Vandersloot also dished out six of her nine assists for the Zags during the first 20 minutes.
The difference in the second half for the Bulldogs was the dynamic play of Vandersloot and Elliott along with their overall aggressiveness on the boards. Vandersloot scored 15 points in the final half, while Elliott had 14. Gonzaga also closed out the second half with 30 rebounds, 17 of which were offensive. Seven of the 10 Bulldog players had at least one offensive rebound during the contest.
The game changing moment of the contest was when Vandersloot and Elliott drained back-to-back three-pointers to break a 43-43 tie at 11:25. Gonzaga's first three-pointers of the contest sparked the Zags as they then went on a 14-7 run to take control of the game at 63-52 with 2:07 remaining in the game.
Gonzaga had three players close out the contest in double-figure points, including Vandersloot who posted a career-high 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the floor, including 1-of-3 on three-pointers and 4-for-5 from the charity stripe. Vandersloot also dished out a game-high nine assists, her 11th game dishing out five or more assists and fifth in a row.
Elliott led the Bulldogs in scoring with 22 points. Bowman, playing in only her second game after missing five with an injury, registered 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Gonzaga closed out the game shooting 39.1% (27-69) from the floor, was 15.8% (3-19) from behind the three-point arc and was 84.6% (11-13) at the free throw line. The Bulldogs dished out 14 assists as a team, had nine steals, three blocks and forced Pepperdine to turn the ball over 18 different times. The Zags also held the huge 46-32 advantage in rebounds, including the 24-13 edge in offensive boards.
Pepperdine was led by Katie Menton and Teiosha George who had 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Gonzaga will continue WCC action when it welcomes Loyola Marymount University to the McCarthey Athletic Center on Saturday, Jan. 12. Game time is set for 2 p.m.