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Gonzaga women anxious for D-I action against Cal State Bakersfield

UPDATED: Mon., Nov. 4, 2019

Oregon State's Taya Corosdale (5) defends against Gonzaga's Jenn Wirth (3) during the first half of a second-round game of the NCAA women's college basketball tournament in Corvallis, Ore., Monday, March 25, 2019. (Amanda Loman / Associated Press)
Oregon State's Taya Corosdale (5) defends against Gonzaga's Jenn Wirth (3) during the first half of a second-round game of the NCAA women's college basketball tournament in Corvallis, Ore., Monday, March 25, 2019. (Amanda Loman / Associated Press)

It was a little too quiet Monday afternoon as the Gonzaga women warmed up for practice in the Volkar Center.

The Zags were two days removed from a 60-point exhibition win over Warner Pacific but a long way from the real thing.

“I’m kind of jealous,” said junior forward Jenn Wirth, noting that the GU men open the season Tuesday – five days ahead of the women’s opener Sunday against Cal State Bakersfield.

However, Wirth has plenty to tide her over until then: a nearly flawless offensive performance on Saturday, high praise from Coach Lisa Fortier and the warm fuzzies of starting with her twin sister LeeAnne for the first time since high school.

“That was awesome,” Wirth said. “We’ve talked about it the last couple of seasons and we’ve been wanting to get little more time together after a long couple of seasons.”

At the same time, Jenn Wirth was stepping into the role filled last year by Zykera Rice. So far, so good: She had a team-high 17 points (on 5-for-8 shooting), plus seven boards and two blocks.

Fortier also was looking for some intangibles, and Wirth also checked those boxes.

“Jenn played very well,” Fortier said. “She’s been good in practice, but we’ve been hoping she would do a little more in a live scenario … that she was eager to be assertive.

“We need to get her being aggressive offensively and she’s very capable.”

Even considering the opposition, so was the offense against Warner Pacific.

“I wasn’t expecting us to click the way we did, but I’m really thrilled,” said Jenn Wirth, who was on the receiving end of several of the Zags’ 24 assists.

“We were really unselfish and it worked out for us,” Wirth said.

Defense was another issue, and film confirmed the slow reaction to ball screens.

“We were missing some of our defensive assignments, didn’t adjust quickly on ball screens,” said Fortier, who blamed some of the lapses on poor communication.

“We’ll work on that this week,” Fortier said.

Preparation is ongoing for Cal State Bakersfield, which returns just five players from a squad that went 14-17 last year (10-7 in the Western Athletic Conference).

CSUB opens Tuesday night against Division II Cal State Dominguez Hills, but a better test will come Friday night, when the Roadrunners are at Washington.

“We’ll look at last year’s film and we’ll see their game on Tuesday,” Fortier said. “Then we’ll take the Friday film and add it to the film session Saturday.”

The Zags also practice on Saturday.

“It’s nice to have that file the day after we’ve seen them against a Division 1 opponent,” Fortier said.

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