Elle Tinkle drives to the basket. (Photo courtesy Gonzaga athletics)
Courtesy Gonzaga Athletics
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The Gonzaga women’s basketball team eased to a 91-59 victory over Pacific in the West Coast Conference Tournament quarterfinals inside the Orleans Arena Friday.
Gonzaga’s (24-6) Jill Barta led all scorers with 23 points, making 9-of-11 from the field. Emma Wolfram and Zykera Rice both finished with 11 points, while Elle Tinkle added 10. Wolfram was a rebound shy of a double-double, pulling down nine in the game. Kiara Kudron grabbed 11 boards. Laura Stockton dished out five of GU’s 19 assists.
The Bulldogs finished 48 percent from the field and held Pacific to 35 percent. GU made 24 of its 26 free-throws (92 percent). The Zags dominated the glass, ending with a 49-28 advantage in rebounds. Gonzaga also controlled the paint, outscoring the Tigers 38-14 inside.
“I think our team really followed the gameplan and digested the scout,” GU Head Coach Lisa Fortier said. “It was such a well-rounded effort, when you look we had four players in double-digits. A bunch of players with rebounds and several players with a lot of assists. I just thought it was an overall good team win.”
The Zags used their transition game to jumpstart their offense in the first quarter, as Tinkle broke away for two buckets and scored the first six points for GU as they led 8-5 at the 4:44 mark in the first. A three-point play from Barta and free throws from Stockton increased the lead to eight, 15-7 with two minutes left in the quarter. The Tigers hit two threes to close out the quarter and GU led 15-13 after one. Kudron had five rebounds in the quarter, including two offensive.
Rice scored four-straight points off the bench for GU to begin the second quarter, one bucket thanks to a perfect over-the-shoulder pass from Jessie Loera in transition, and the Zags built a 32-18 lead six minutes into the quarter, holding the Tigers scoreless for over five minutes on a 13-0 run. Pacific made a late push and GU led 37-30 at the half. Rice scored six points in the quarter and Barta finished with 12 at the half. The Zags outrebounded the Tigers 25-12 and 11-3 on the offensive glass, and finished with eight transition buckets. Kudron had eight of those rebounds, four offensive, and Stockton grabbed five.
Barta drilled a three-pointer three minutes into the third quarter to extend the GU lead to 46-33, as the Zags held Pacific to zero field goals for over seven minutes in the quarter. When the Tigers finally scored GU was comfortably in control 60-36 completing a 17-2 run. The Zags led 63-36 after three quarters. Pacific began to press GU in the fourth quarter, but Gonzaga handled it just fine, building a lead as big as 36 on their way to a 91-59 win.
The Zags’ defense forced Pacific into 17 turnovers, turning the opportunities into a 24-9 edge in points off of turnovers.
GeAnna Luaulu-Summers led the Tigers (10-21) with 18 points. Chelsea Lidy and Jenelle Grant chipped in 13 and 11 points respectively.
The Bulldogs face fourth-seeded San Francisco (18-12) in the conference tournament semifinals Monday at 12 p.m. Gonzaga split the regular season series with the Dons. Monday’s game will have live video and stats on GoZags.com.