SPOKANE, Wash. – The Gonzaga men’s and women’s basketball teams are dancin’ in the NCAA Tournament, again, on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. This marks the 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament berth (20th overall) for the men – ranked No. 2 in both major polls this week – and eighth in nine years (ninth overall) for the women.
The No. 1 seed in the West bracket, the (32-1) men take on No. 16 seed South Dakota State (18-16) at 11 a.m. (PDT) Thursday at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City (TV: TBS). The No. 11 seed women (26-6) battle No. 6 seed Oklahoma (22-9) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle (TV: ESPN2). The winner of the men’s contest will face either No. 8 Northwestern or No. 9 Vanderbilt on Saturday. The women’s game winner will take on the No. 3 Washington-No. 14 Montana State winner on Monday.
Led by third-year Coach Lisa Fortier, the Zags captured their seventh West Coast Conference Tournament by an average of 24.7 points per game, powered by Jill Barta who led tournament scoring with 24 points per game, and a tournament record 37 points in the championship game. Barta now has 1004 career points. Kiara Kudron led the tournament with 18 defensive rebounds and Laura Stockton led with 6.3 assists per game. The Zags are 10-8 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, with four trips to the Sweet 16 and one to the Elite Eight. GU is 7-3 in the NCAA Tournament as an 11-seed, the most wins as any seed. This marks the seventh time the Bulldogs have advanced to the NCAA Tournament via winning the WCC Tournament. The last time was in 2014, when the No. 6-seed Bulldogs lost in the first round to 11-seed James Madison. Gonzaga is 3-1 in the tournament in Seattle, last playing there in 2010. The Zags are 5-3 all-time in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. GU is 3-0 against 6-seeds, beating Iowa (2011), Rutgers (2012), and George Washington (2015). In their last appearance, in 2015, Gonzaga advanced to the Sweet 16 with wins over No. 6 George Washington & host No. 3 Oregon State, before falling to No. 2 Tennessee at the Spokane Arena, as an 11-seed.
Gonzaga’s 19 consecutive NCAA Tournament berths is the fourth-longest current streak in the nation (Kansas, Duke, Michigan State). Gonzaga is 24-19 in 19 previous NCAA Tournament appearances with seven trips to the Sweet 16 and two to the Elite Eight. GU is 21-17 in the NCAA Tournament led by Coach Mark Few, who is two wins shy of 500 in his career and sports a career record of 498-112 (.816). Gonzaga and Kansas are the only teams to win their opening-round NCAA Tournament game each of the last eight seasons. Gonzaga, which has beat opponents by an average of 23.4 points this season, is 15-13 all-time as a single-digit seed. Gonzaga earned a No. 1 seed for the second time in program history. The 2012-13 Zags defeated No. 16 Southern as the top-seed in the West, before falling to No. 9 Wichita State. Gonzaga has played more NCAA Tournament games in Salt Lake City than any other site, winning four of seven games there. Gonzaga has never played an NCAA Tournament game in San Jose, California, site of the West Regional semifinals and finals. Last season, the Zags defeated Seton Hall and Utah in Denver, Colorado, to advance to the Sweet 16 where they fell to Syracuse.
Follow the Zags
Visit the Gonzaga Alumni Association webpage http://www.zagsonline.org/ for information on regional NCAA events including chapter game watches.
- A brunch before the men’s game in Salt Lake City starts at 10 a.m. (MDT) Thursday in the Grand Hall, Union Pacific Depot (18 North Rio Grande St.).
- A gathering before the women’s game in Seattle on Saturday begins at 1:30 p.m. (PDT) at the Big Time Brewery & Alehouse (4133 University Way N.E.).
- Follow the Zags in the NCAA Tournament at tracking-the-zags
Information on tickets for the women’s NCAA Tournament games in Seattle is available at http://www.gohuskies.com/sports/2016/6/14/womens-basketball-tickets.aspx; information for the men’s game tickets is available at www.ncaa.com/tickets/basketball-men/d1