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Gonzaga women still projected to host NCAA Tournament games after close loss to BYU

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 20, 2019, 12:24 p.m.

Gonzaga guard Jill Townsend steal the ball from BYU guard Maria Albiero, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Jill Townsend steal the ball from BYU guard Maria Albiero, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

For the Gonzaga women, moving on was so much harder this time.

Three days after another two-point loss to BYU, coach Lisa Fortier admitted to presiding over a “rough” film session on Monday.

Forward Jenn Wirth talked about adopting a “growth mindset,” no matter whether the opponent includes 6-foot-7 post Sara Hamson or someone else.

For guard Jill Townsend, it was the struggle to dispel the “what-could-I-have-done-better?” doubts after such a narrow loss.

“There were so many little things,” Townsend said, shaking her head.

But there was no finger-pointing, Fortier said after Tuesday’s practice ahead of the Zags’ final road trip of the regular season.

“We had a good practice, and we have to take that mentality into Thursday’s game,” said Fortier, whose Zags are at Santa Clara on Thursday and USF on Saturday.

The good news is that in the grand scheme, the BYU loss didn’t sting too badly.

The Zags are still 23-3 overall and 12-2 in the West Coast Conference, one game ahead of BYU in the loss column with four games to play.

GU is holding steady in the national pecking order, remaining at 13th in RPI. They dropped four notches, to 16th, in the coaches’ poll but just two spots in the Associated Press poll, to 15th.

At ESPN, bracketologist Charlie Crème kept the Zags as a No. 4 seed, albeit in the Greensboro, N.C., Regional. They would face No. 13 UC Davis of the Big West Conference. Also in the four-team pod would be No. 5 Arizona State and No. 12 Boise State.

RealtimeRPI.com also had GU as a No. 4 in the Portland Regional, facing 13th-seeded Stephen F. Austin in a pod that also includes No. 5 Florida State and No. 12 Buffalo.

However, College Sports Madness assigns the Zags a No. 6 seed and sends them to play 11th-seeded TCU in a foursome hosted by South Carolina, which won the national title in 2017.

Respect is nice, Fortier said, but some of it must be re-earned before Selection Monday.

“We just have to focus on getting better,” Fortier said.

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