Zags hold Broncos to 15 second-half points in 51-39 win - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Zags hold Broncos to 15 second-half points in 51-39 win

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by Gonzaga Athletics

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Gonzaga Bulldogs and head coach Lisa Fortier pride themselves on defense, and that was on full display on Thursday as they held Santa Clara to 39 points in a 51-39 win inside the McCarthey Athletic Center.

The 39 points allowed ties the lowest allowed in a West Coast Conference game under coach Fortier, as Pepperdine scored 39 last season, and the 15 second-half points SCU scored ties the 15 Presbyterian scored in the first half of that game earlier this season.  The Broncos did not score more than 10 points in the final three quarters.  The Broncos turned the ball over 26 times, three short of the most against a coach Fortier defense and the most an opponent has committed this year.

“One of our goals is to hold court at home, so we wanted to make sure we were dialed in here at home tonight,” Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier said.  “We wanted to battle and be tough, and we did that.”

Jill Barta scored 11-straight points in the third quarter and finished with 17 on the night with four steals.  Elle Tinkle added 13 points, nine rebounds, and four steals.  A game after setting a season-high with 18 steals against Saint Mary’s, the Zags swiped 15 against SCU.  Emma Stach fueled a couple different runs and made three three-pointers on the night for 12 points.  Laura Stockton dished six assists.

“We’re not one dimensional and were able to get it done on both ends,” Tinkle said.  “I’m really glad we were able to buckle down defensively and hopefully we can have more nights like that.”

The Zags battled cold shooting early, but their defense held them in, and GU trailed by eight at the 6:09 mark of the second quarter, the most they would trail by.  The Zags finished the half on an 11-3 run that included two Stach threes to tie the game at 24 at half.

The Zags pulled to a 32-30 lead midway through the third quarter, before Barta exploded for 11 points in a row to go to the fourth up 43-30.  Midway through the fourth quarter the Broncos got within seven, 43-36, but a Stach three and jumper, and a flurry of free throws, saw the Zags lead 51-36, and win 51-39.

Emma Wolfram gave the Zags defense prowess with seven rebounds and three blocks, and Gonzaga scored 26 points off 26 Santa Clara turnovers.  The Zags led in rebounds 36-35, but recorded 18 offensive rebounds for 20 second-chance points.

Gonzaga improved to 14-4 and 5-2 with their fifth-straight WCC win.  The Zags will travel to Portland on Saturday for a 2 pm game that can be seen live on THEW.TV.

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