MORAGA, Calif. – Jenn Wirth had 14 points and seven rebounds and No. 15 Gonzaga never trailed in its 66-52 women’s basketball win over Saint Mary’s on Saturday night.
Jill Townsend added 12 points for Gonzaga, and LeeAnne Wirth and Katie Campbell scored 10 apiece.
The Bulldogs (21-2, 10-1 West Coast Conference) have won five in a row and moved into first in the conference standings, a half-game ahead of No. 25 BYU – which beat Gonzaga 70-68 in Provo, Utah, on Jan. 17.
“We just played tough,” Gonzaga coach Lisa Fortier said in a team release. “Our players were real physical, and we knew we had to be. (Saint Mary’s) is extremely physical. Some of the most physical players that we’ve played against in any conference, any tournament or anywhere we play, it’s the Saint Mary’s players that are the most physical. So we really spent a lot of time talking about that.”
Jenn Wirth scored eight consecutive points before twin sister LeeAnne hit a jumper to cap a 10-0 run that gave the Bulldogs a 28-17 lead with 2 minutes, 51 seconds left in the second quarter. Saint Mary’s scored eight of the next 10 points to pull within five but got no closer. The Gaels went scoreless over the final 6:17 of the game.
Sam Simons had 16 points, including four 3-pointers, and Sydney Raggio scored 11 with 16 rebounds for Saint Mary’s (14-8, 7-4), which had its five-game win streak snapped. The Gaels, who were held to their lowest scoring output of the season, committed 21 turnovers. They came in ranked No. 1 in the conference in scoring (77.7 points per game), 3-point percentage (.390, eighth nationally) and field-goal percentage (.492, ninth) but shot 4 of 22 (18 percent) from 3-point range and shot 32.7 percent (18 of 55) overall.
Gonzaga continues play on the road next week, heading to Portland Saturday for a 4:30 p.m. tip.
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