#13/11 Zags roll to 70-36 win over Pepperdine

Gonzaga owns nation’s longest win streak at 17 games
Gonzaga's Jenn Wirth high-fives Jessie Loera in win over Pepperdine
Gonzaga's Jenn Wirth high-fives Jessie Loera in win over Pepperdine

SPOKANE, Wash. – The #13/11 Gonzaga women’s basketball team rolled past visiting Pepperdine 70-36 Thursday evening inside the McCarthey Athletic Center. The win is Gonzaga’s 17th straight, the longest win streak in the nation.

Pepperdine’s 36 points are the fewest allowed by a Gonzaga opponent this season and the fifth opponent Gonzaga has held to 45 or fewer points this season. The Bulldogs also dominated the glass, hauling in a season-high 57 rebounds while limiting the Waves to 32. The Zags also dished out 21 assists on 29 made field goals for the third 20-plus assist game this season.

“[Coming into tonight’s game] I was concerned about our defense, not because our defense is bad; we’ve done a great job defensively but their offense is really good if you let them get off the ball screens to the middle,” head women’s basketball coach Lisa Fortier said. “We really wanted to do a good job on ball screens…that started it off well. Then we got out to shooters, we rebounded the ball well, we got a lot of defensive rebounds and limited theirs.”

Gonzaga’s defensive intensity limited Pepperdine to more than 30 points below its season average of 66.4 in addition to keeping both of the Waves’ leading scorers, Paige Fecske and Malia Bambrick, well below their double-figure averages at five and three points, respectively.

“We came out, right from the punch,” junior guard Jill Townsend said. “That was our first key coming into the game was to throw the first punch. I thought we executed that.

The Bulldogs finished with four players in double figures including three players notching double-doubles. Townsend led all scorers with 18 points and 10 boards for her second career double-double, Katie Campbell finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for her first career double-double while Jenn Wirth added her second double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 boards. Melody Kempton rounded out the double figure scoring with 12 points in her first career start with the Bulldogs, while Jessie Loera dished out a game high eight assists. Loera moved into place all-time in career assists with 398.

Gonzaga shot 45.3 percent from the floor for the game and 35.0 percent from long range while limiting Pepperdine to 21.5 percent shooting and 20.0 percent from long range. Gonzaga jumped out to an early 20-7 lead after the first quarter and had extended its lead to 19 (37-18) by halftime. GU limited the Waves to 18 points in the second half as well and extended its lead to 34 points by midway through the fourth quarter, rolling to the 70-36 win.

Pepperdine was led in scoring by Hannah Friend with 15 points while Monique Andriuolo and Barbara Sitanggan added eight rebounds each.

Gonzaga returns to the court Saturday, Jan. 25 against Loyola Marymount at 1 p.m., inside the McCarthey Athletic Center. Saturday’s game will serve as a toilet paper and diaper drive for Catholic Charities; fans are encouraged to bring both for donations at the game.