Nov. 12, 2007
SPOKANE, Wash. - It was the perfect beginning to the new season for the Gonzaga University women's basketball team. Facing the University of Washington in Spokane for the first time since the 1997-1998 campaign, the Bulldogs earned their first victory in 18 tries over the Huskies with an impressive 91-72 win. It was also a phenomenal collegiate debut for redshirt freshman Janelle Bekkering as she posted a career-high 20 points, including 16 in the first half.
With the win the Bulldogs improved to 1-0 on the season and are now 6-0 in home openers, while the Huskies dropped to 0-2 overall.
Gonzaga and Washington battled close for the first 10 minutes of the opening half, but the Bulldogs picked up the pace and quickly ran away from the Huskies. Leading 20-18 at the 11:38 mark, the Zags went on a 14-4 run to open the game up at 34-22 with a little over eight minutes remaining in the stanza. Senior Michelle Elliott ignited the run with two three-pointers and a layup, while junior Jami Bjorklund muscled two layups of her own.
The Bulldogs continued to forge ahead, building a 24-point lead twice in the final three minutes, and settling for a 55-33 advantage at half. Gonzaga built its huge lead without sophomore Heather Bowman, the 2006-07 West Coast Conference Newcomer of the Year, as she was hit with two quick fouls in the opening minutes of the game. Beside Bekkering's 16 points, Bjorklund chipped in 13 to give the Zags the run-away lead.
Gonzaga continued to dominate in the second half, not letting its lead go under 20 until the final moments of the game. It was Bowman who was came alive in the final half to keep the Huskies at bay. The forward scored 16 points, grabbed three rebounds, made two steals and dished out one assist in helping the Zags earn the 19-point victory.
Along with Bekkering, three other players finished the game in double-figure points. Bowman added a game-high 21 points for the Zags, while Bjorklund and Elliott chipped in 17 and 13, respectively. Bjorklund notched GU's first double-double of the season as she also grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds in the victory.
Freshman point guard Courtney Vandersloot also had a superb opening game for the Zags. She dished out 10 assists, didn't turn the ball over once, and added six points and four rebounds in 26 minutes of action.
The Bulldogs closed out the game shooting 46.8% (36-77) from the floor, including 23.5% (4-17) from beyond the three-point arc, and was 75.0% (15-20) at the charity stripe.
The Huskies were led by Sami Whitcomb and Michelle Augustavo who score 16 and 11 points, respectively. Spokane native freshman Katelan Redmon had six points for UW.
Gonzaga will be back in action Saturday, Nov. 17 when it welcomes the University of Nevada to the McCarthey Athletic Center. Game time is set to start at Noon.