Solid Second Half Seals Win for Zags Against LMU - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Solid Second Half Seals Win for Zags Against LMU

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by Gonzaga Athletics

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Gonzaga women's basketball team made 30 free-throws in an 83-68 West Coast Conference victory over Loyola Marymount Thursday.

The Zags (15-9, 7-5 West Coast Conference) were paced by Jill Barta's game-high 25 points and 11 rebounds. The freshman recorded her first double-double of the season in her first collegiate start. It was her third 20-point performance and second in the past three games.  She made five of her 12 shots from the field, including 3-of-6 from behind-the-arc. The Fairfield, Mont. native connected on 12 of her 14 free-throw attempts. 

Barta entered the game leading the WCC with a 94.4 free-throw percentage in conference action. Her streak of consecutive makes at the line ended at 20 Thursday. Barta is now 46-of-50 (92 percent) from the free-throw line in league play.

As a team, the Bulldogs were 30-of-39 (76.9 percent) from the line against LMU. It was the most free-throws made and attempted by GU since going 37-of-48 against Idaho State last season.

Gonzaga led 32-29 at halftime, before outscoring the Lions 51-39 in the second half. The Zags' 51 second half points were the most since scoring 51 in the first half against LMU at home last season. GU shot 48 percent from the field in the second half Thursday, after shooting 28 percent in the opening 20 minutes. The Bulldogs were 1-of-9 from three-point range in the first half and 6-of-14 in the second half.

The Zags outrebounded Loyola Marymount, 48-31, grabbing 22 offensive boards in the process. GU had a 26-18 advantage in the paint, and turned 16 Lion turnovers into 22 points. LMU finished with an advantage in field goal percentage, 43.1 percent to 37.7 percent.

Shaniqua Nilles made her first career start in her 98th appearance at Gonzaga. The senior took advantage of the opportunity and scored a season-high 15 points and pulled down eight rebounds. She also made three steals. Laura Stockton scored seven of her 10 points in the first half. Shelby Cheslek added 10 rebounds and three blocks.

Loyola Marymount (7-16, 3-9 WCC) jumped out to a 10-4 lead after the first four minutes and led 16-13 at the end of the first quarter. GU countered with a 10-2 run into the second quarter and never trailed again. The Bulldogs led by as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter.

The Lions made nine of their 26 shots (34.6 percent) from behind-the-perimeter, while Gonzaga was 7-of-23 (30.4 percent). Both teams dished out 12 assists.

Leslie Lopez-Wood led LMU with 16 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field. Deanna Johnson contributed 14 points, while Sophie Taylor and Makenzie Cast both scored 12.

Gonzaga continues its three-game homestand against Pepperdine Saturday. The Waves (5-18, 1-11) lost at Portland Thursday, 81-79. The Zags won the first meeting this season at Pepperdine, 74-57. Saturday's tipoff is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. The game will be televised locally on SWX.

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