Gonzaga Women Edged By BYU In Provo - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Gonzaga Women Edged By BYU In Provo

BYU Escaped Provo With a 4 point win over Gonzaga BYU Escaped Provo With a 4 point win over Gonzaga

Gonzaga Athletics

BYU used a 17-1 run during the final five minutes to escape with a 58-54 win over the Gonzaga women's basketball team Thursday.

Despite leading the game for only a minute and 27 seconds, the Cougars (13-4, 5-1 West Coast Conference) moved into a tie atop the league standings with the victory. Gonzaga led the game for 34 minutes.

The conference's leading scorer, Lexi Eaton Rydalch scored nine of her game-high 18 points in the final quarter. She entered the game sixth in the country averaging 23.6 points per game. The senior made seven of her 15 shots from the field. Kalani Purcell came into the game averaging 11.6 rebounds per outing, which ranked 10th in the nation. She grabbed a game-high 16 boards and added 17 points.

The Zags finished 43.4 percent from the field, after shooting 48 percent in the first half. BYU made 44 percent in the second half and ended at 41.3 percent. GU is now 12-1 this season when it finishes with a higher field goal percentage than its opponent. The Cougars took 22 free-throws to Gonzaga's seven. BYU made 18 and the Zags made three. The Bulldogs were 5-of-13 (38.5 percent) from behind-the-arc, while BYU was 2-of-6 (33 percent).

The Bulldogs (13-5, 5-1 WCC) had their seven-game win streak snapped despite having a 34-28 rebound advantage over BYU. Gonzaga grabbed 12 offensive rebounds in the game. It also had 17 assists on its 23 made field goals. The Cougars had 12 assists and 13 turnovers. The Zags turned the ball over 17 times. Both teams had seven steals.

After leading 15-12 at the end of the first quarter, GU took its largest lead of the first half into the halftime break, 28-20. The Bulldogs took a 42-35 lead into the final 10 minutes. BYU opened the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to one with seven minutes to play. Gonzaga countered with an 8-0 run to match its largest lead of the game, 50-41, with 5:14 remaining. Chelsea Waters turned a pair of back-to-back steals at half-court into lay-ins during the Zag run.

The Cougars then made their 17-1 run over the next 5:08. A Purcell jumper with 1:27 gave BYU its first lead of the game.

Shelby Cheslek led Gonzaga with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field. Kiara Kudron scored 10 points and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. Georgia Stirton dished out a game-high five assists with no turnovers. Shaniqua Nilles had four assists and no turnovers.

The Zags travel to San Diego (15-2, 5-1) for a matchup Saturday at 2 p.m. The Toreros have won three straight, including a 71-43 win over Portland Thursday, and are also tied with BYU and Gonzaga for first in the conference standings. 

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