Gonzaga Women Hold On To Beat Wyoming 61-57 In Overtime - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Gonzaga Women Hold On To Beat Wyoming 61-57 In Overtime

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Shelby Cheslek chose a good night to have the best game of her career Thursday. The senior led the Gonzaga women's basketball team to a thrilling 61-57 overtime victory over Wyoming.

Cheslek did just enough to out-duel the Cowgirls' Marquelle Dent. Cheslek scored a career-high 18 points, while Dent had a season-high 23 points. Cheslek made six of her nine shots from the field and 6-of-8 from the free-throw line, but it may have been her late defensive play that propelled the Zags (5-3). Five of her career-high six blocks came after halftime.

"It's kind of fun when you can go out and block shots like that," Cheslek said. "And, it helps the team to get a win. That's something I'm pretty excited about after a game like this."

Cheslek's six blocks were the most by a Bulldog since Kayla Standish had six in a home win over Pepperdine on Feb. 18, 2012. Cheslek also moved to second on the program's all-time list with 171 career blocks. After passing Stephanie Hawk's 167 Thursday, Cheslek is five away from matching Standish's career mark of 176.

"(Shelby) was awesome," GU Head Coach Lisa Fortier said. "You know, she was our heart and soul really. I mean she's the vocal leader of our team and we needed that tonight and she was there. She has proven that she's a good rebounder and shot blocker, but this year I think she's really shown that she's a force to be reckoned with inside. I love the way she plays."

Jill Barta added 10 points for Gonzaga. The redshirt freshman has reached double-digit scoring in seven of her first eight collegiate games. She added seven rebounds.Kiara Kudron and Elle Tinkle both contributed nine points. Kudron also had seven rebounds, while Tinkle made a game-high five steals.

"It was a gutsy win," Fortier said. "Anytime you have to win a game in overtime that means that the other team is good and playing hard just like we were. I didn't think we let up, we played really hard throughout the game and we had a lot of different people step up. We didn't finish the regulation round as well as I would have liked, but I thought we really played strong and played together."

In a close game that surprisingly only featured three ties, the Zags never trailed. In fact, GU led for nearly 42 minutes of the 45-minute contest.

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead and had an 18-13 advantage after the first quarter. Gonzaga led 27-18 after a three-point play from Georgia Stirton at the 5:04 mark of the second quarter. The Zags took a 34-27 lead into the halftime break.

After shooting 52 percent in the first half, GU made only six of its 21 (28.6 percent) shots from the field in the second half. Gonzaga was outscored 13-6 in the third quarter and led 45-38 entering the fourth period. A Cheslek lay-in with 4:38 remaining in the quarter gave the Zags a 51-42 advantage. GU would not score again in regulation. Wyoming (3-2) closed the period on a 9-0 run, capped by a game-tying jumper from Dent with six seconds left.

In the extra period, Gonzaga made two of its three shots from the field, while the Cowgirls made 2-of-10. The Bulldogs made 5-of-8 from the free-throw line in overtime, and finished the game 17-for-22 (77.3 percent). Wyoming was 8-for-10 from the line in the game.

A key to the victory was GU's dominance on the glass. The Zags outrebounded Wyoming, 40-29. Gonzaga also had a 34-18 advantage in the paint.

Dent made 8-of-26 from the field. She also dished out a game-high four assists. Jordan Kelley finished with a double-double of 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Gonzaga welcomes Montana State (5-2) Sunday. The Bobcats cruised to an 89-66 victory over Cal State Fullerton Thursday. The Zags' and MSU game will be broadcast on SWX. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:05 p.m.

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