March 20, 2008
SPOKANE, Wash. - The Gonzaga University women's basketball team shook off any disappointment for not earning an NCAA Tournament at-large bid and opened the Women's Invitational Tournament (WNIT) with a decisive 81-60 victory over UC Davis on Thursday night at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs improved their overall record to 25-8 with their win, while the Aggies closed out a strong first year as a NCAA Division I member with a 19-12 mark.
Gonzaga will now play at the University of Colorado in the second round of the WNIT. The Bulldogs square off against the Buffaloes on Monday, March 24 at 6 p.m. PDT.
Sophomore Heather Bowman, who registered 12 points for Gonzaga, eclipsed the 1,000 point plateau in the victory. Bowman, who has scored 1,009 points to date, became just the 13th Bulldog ever to school 1,000 points and the first player in school history to score 1,000 or more points in just two short seasons.
It was a full team effort for the Zags as 11 players scored in the first round victory. Senior Michelle Elliott shined on her home court, finishing with a team-high 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, including 3-of-4 accuracy on three-pointers and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. She also had three rebounds, three assists and one steal in the 21-point victory.
Sophomore's Vivian Frieson and Tiffanie Shives both posted 10 points, while freshman Courtney Vandersloot and junior Jami Bjorklund added eight and seven points, respectively.
Gonzaga went into the locker room with a 14-point advantage, 33-19, on the strength of its defense. The Bulldogs forced the Aggies to turn the ball over 13 times in the opening half and scored 17 points on those miscues.
The Zags started to break away nearly 10 minutes into the first half when, leading just 13-10, they strung together eight-straight points to take a double-digit lead at 21-10 with 7:51. Gonzaga never let its lead dip below double-figures again, and held a 14-point lead, its largest of the half, four different times.
The Bulldogs exploded in the second half, quickly building a 28-point lead. Elliott and Bowman were the keys to Gonzaga securing the large advantage. Elliott, drained two three pointers and had eight total points over the opening eight minutes, while Bowman also poured in eight points to give the Zags the 59-31 advantage at the 11:38 mark. GU's largest lead of the game was 36 after Shives made a layup to put the score at 74-38 with 5:38 remaining.
Gonzaga closed out the game shooting 46.7 percent (28-60) from the floor, including 28.6 percent (6-21) on three-pointers and was 76.0 percent (19-25) at the charity stripe. The Bulldogs grabbed 36 rebounds, 14 of which were offensive, dished out 16 assists and had 13 steals.
UC Davis finished the game shooting 42.0 percent (21-50) from the field, including 21.1 percent (4-19) from beyond the three-point arc, and was 87.5 percent (14-16) at the free throw line. The Aggies were led by Jessica Campbell who scored a game-high 23 points. Anna Harp added 13 points and Heather Bates registered 11.