Nov. 16, 2006
SPOKANE, Wash. - Junior Michelle Elliott scored 20 of her season-high 22 points in the first half and Gonzaga University rolled to an 84-43 non-conference women's basketball victory over Sacramento State University on Thursday.
Elliott had established her Gonzaga career high by the halftime buzzer, connecting on 8-of-9 first-half shots, including 4-for-5 from 3-point range, as she single-handedly outscored the Hornets and had nearly half the Bulldogs total while taking a 46-15 halftime lead. After Katy Ridenour's 3-pointer for Gonzaga's first basket of the game, Elliott hit a pair of treys and a layup for 8 straight points and an 11-8 Bulldog lead.
Elliott scored a career-high 25 points as a sophomore at San Diego State University during the 2204-05 season. She transferred to Gonzaga this year after attending Columbia Basin College in nearby Pasco, Wash., last season but not playing basketball.
"Michelle really got us going," head coach Kelly Graves said. "She was in a zone and we just kind of turned her loose the first half. I was pleased with the overall intensity of our team, especially the first 20 minutes."
The Bulldogs (3-0) played their final home game until Nov. 30.
"This was a great game to head out on the road with," Graves said. "We were able to play everybody and gain some experience which will really help us in the tough road swing ahead."
Gonzaga will play its next five games away from the friendly confines of the McCarthey Athletic Center beginning with Sunday's game at the University of Montana. That will be followed by a Tuesday game at Portland State University, then the Bulldogs head to Honolulu and the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic where they will face UCLA on Nov. 24. The Bruins advanced to the NCAA Tournament second round last spring. Also in the field is second-ranked University of North Carolina, a NCAA Final Four team a year ago.
Elliott played just 10 minutes the second half and hit one of her two second-half field goal attempts.
Sasha Polishchuk scored 9 of her 12 points in the second half while making 3-of-5 second-half shots, and Ridenour finished with 11 points on a 4-for-6 night from the field.
"We really got everybody involved in the game in some way," Graves said. "It was nice to see that. We did a good job of distributing the ball and taking care of the ball. Plus, we really shut them down in the first half.
Eleven Bulldogs scored and played double-digit minutes; seven players had at least two assists - led by the 4 each of Tatriana Lorenzo and Rachel Kane - and the Hornets (1-1) connected on just 27.3 percent of their first-half shots (6-for-22). The Bulldogs, meanwhile, shot a blistering 58.8 percent in the first half and finished at a season-high 54.0 percent (34-for-63). Gonzaga was 8-for-18 from 3-point range and a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line. The Hornets also committed 30 turnovers while the Bulldogs had a season-low 11.
Gonzaga trailed for the last time at 5-3 before going on an 18-3 run over the next 5:12. Elliott had 10 points in the spurt that built the lead to 21-8 with 12:06 remaining in the first half. The Hornets never got the deficit under double digits the rest of the night.
The Bulldogs don't return home until Nov. 30 when Seattle Pacific University visits for an 8 p.m. game.