Jan. 26, 2008
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University women's basketball head coach Kelly Graves earned his 200th career victory as the Bulldogs defeated the University of Portland 76-50 Saturday afternoon in the McCarthey Athletic Center. Graves, who was coaching against his former mentor Jim Sollars head coach of the Pilots, now has a 200-125 Division I career record over 11 years.
The Zags have won six-straight and hold a 14-6 overall record and a perfect 5-0 mark in the West Coast Conference. The Pilots fell to 12-8 overall with the loss and 2-3 in conference.
Gonzaga played some of its best basketball during the first 10 minutes of the contest building a 21-5 lead at the 11:51 mark. The Zags hit 8-of-14 (57.1%) during this stretch, while the Pilots only hit 2 of its first 12 shots.
The Bulldogs started to stumble after senior guard Rachel Kane went down with a knee injury at the 13:30 mark and after sophomore Heather Bowman picked up her second foul of the afternoon at 10:44. The Pilots rattled off 10-straight points with both Bowman and Kane out of the game to slice the Zags lead to only six at 25-19 with 4:25 left in the first half.
Gonzaga finally broke its nine-minute dry spell with a layup by sophomore Vivian Frieson at 3:00. Two free throws by Frieson at the 2:12 mark pushed the Bulldogs lead back to 10. A free throw by Portland's Laura Thomas put the Zags halftime advantage at 29-20.
The Bulldogs came out flying in the second stanza outscoring the Pilots 24-13 during the first 12 minutes of the half to take a commanding 55-33 lead with 8:54 remaining in the contest. Michelle Elliott drained two three-pointers during this run, while Bowman had nine points during the stretch.
Portland was able to pull within 11 after a three-pointer by Karlie Burris at 11:33 but nine unanswered points by Gonzaga gave the Bulldogs a 20-point advantage.
The Bulldogs continued to hold its lead above 20 points for the majority of the final eight minutes of the contest. Gonzaga largest lead of the game came at the 1:32 mark when freshman Claire Raap sank one-of-two free throws to put the GU lead at 74-48.
Gonzaga closed out the contest shooting a superb 48.3% (29-60) from the floor, including 50.0% (4-8) on three points, but was a dismal 63.6% (14-22) at the charity stripe. The Bulldogs outrebounded the Pilots 45-37, forced 17 UP turnovers, made 11 steals and blocked three shots.
All five starters for Gonzaga finished the game in double-figure points, including Bowman who tallied a game-high 18 points, along with eight rebounds, three steals and one assist. Frieson chipped in 14 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, while senior Michelle Elliott, junior Jami Bjorklund and freshman Courtney Vandersloot all posted 11 points apiece.
For the second-straight game Bjorklund held the leading scorer of the opposing team well below their scoring average. Last week, Bjorklund limited the University of San Francisco's Dominique Harris to just seven points, when she was averaging 19.0 points coming into the contest. Against Portland she held the Pilots' Laiken Dollente to just three points. Dollente, who scored her only points on a three-pointer at the 5:27 mark of the second stanza, was averaging a team-best 15.9 points per game.
The Pilots were led by Burris who scored a team-high 10 points. Portland shot 31.8% (21-66) from the floor, including 37.5% (6-16) on three-pointers and was 28.6% (2-7) at the free throw line.Gonzaga will be back in action Thursday, Jan. 31 when it welcomes Saint Mary's College to the McCarthey Athletic Center. Game time is set for 7 p.m.