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Gonzaga’s Jill Barta won four straight state championships, undefeated in high school

Gonzaga’s Jill Barta is one of the nation’s top field-goal shooters. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga’s Jill Barta is one of the nation’s top field-goal shooters. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
By Michael Gulledge michaelg@spokesman.com,

Gonzaga’s Jill Barta never lost a high school basketball game.

The redshirt sophomore from Fairfield, Montana, won 104 consecutive games, which included four state championships during her high school career.

During the state championship her senior year, Barta scored 41 points to win in double overtime and complete the perfect record.

Fairfield, a small town known as the malting barley capital of the world, is located west of Great Falls and had a population of 708 at the 2010 United States census.

“A lot of people live outside of town – they farm and they raise cattle. It’s much different going from here to Montana,” Barta said.

The transition from the rural community to Spokane wasn’t easy.

“It was a little hard at first going from a town of like a hundred people to a city of – to me – like 50 million,” Barta said. “It was a big transition coming out here, but I feel like I’ve done pretty good.”

At the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Barta recorded her fifth career double-double and the first of her season. In a 71-41 Bulldogs victory over Winthrop, the sophomore scored 18 points and had 12 rebounds. Out of seven games this season, Barta has led the Zags in total points five times.

In Saturday’s 79-39 win over Presbyterian, Barta had another double-double, scoring 22 and bringing down 10 rebounds. It was her third-highest single-game point total of the season. She scored 27 points against Michigan during the Paradise Jam and scored 26 when the Bulldogs beat Stanford. Barta also scored the first nine points on Saturday, and had 18 of the Bulldogs’ 31 points at halftime.

“She was efficient,” head coach Lisa Fortier said about Barta’s performance on Saturday.

Fortier was also impressed with Barta’s rebounding.

“That’s going to improve our team’s record and our team’s play,” Fortier said.

As of Wednesday, Barta was ranked 26th in the country, shooting 60 percent from the field. That ranked second highest in the West Coast Conference.

Barta continues to impress on the court but still has strong ties to home and enjoys going back for the summer.

“I love going back to Fairfield,” she said. “They are like my second family there.”

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