Dec. 30, 2006
SPOKANE, Wash. - Coming off an nine day break between games, the Gonzaga University women's basketball team played with renewed energy this afternoon and defeated Montana State University 81-53 in the Bulldogs last non-conference game of the season. With the win, GU broke a three-game losing skid and now holds an 8-8 overall record going into to West Coast Conference play, while Montana State dropped to 5-7 on the year with the loss.
Gonzaga was able to build a 20-point lead 12 minutes into the first stanza with some steady defense and sharp shooting. The Bulldogs, who held a 26-6 lead with 7:30 remaining in the half, held the Bobcats to only 2-of-15 (13.3%) shooting from the field over that period and forced MSU to turn the ball over 10 times. Montana State did not score a field goal until the 13:11 mark when Rebecca Mercer hit a three-pointer.
Gonzaga was 10-of-21 (47.6%) from the floor during its first half explosion, including 2-of-4 (50.0%) on three-pointers. Freshman Heather Bowman scored seven points while senior Stephanie Hawk tallied six in helping the Bulldogs gain their 20-point advantage.
Montana State came to life over the final seven minutes of the half cutting Gonzaga's halftime lead to 12, 39-27.
Gonzaga continued to keep Montana State at bay early in the second half on the tandem play of junior Rachel Kane and sophomore Jami Bjorklund. Bjorklund hit three jumpers while Kane nailed two jumpers over the first five minutes to help GU hold the 49-33 lead.
An 8-1 run by Montana State cut Gonzaga's advantage to only 10 with 11 minutes to play in the contest, but that is as close as the Bobcats could get. The Bulldogs exploded for 30 points, while holding Montana State to just 12 points over the final 11 minutes to earn the lopsided victory. Senior Simone Santos scored ten points off the bench during this time, while freshman Vivian Frieson added four points.
Gonzaga, who had each player score at least four points in the victory, was led by Bowman who finished with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds; both game-highs. Hawk added 10 points, six rebounds, three blocks, one assist and one steal, while Kane finished with seven points, six assists, one steal and one rebound.
Montana State was led by Garcia and Alyssa Nelson who finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
The Bulldogs will be back in action Friday, Jan. 5 when they play at Loyola Marymount. Game time is set for 7 p.m.