13th ranked Gonzaga women take control late, run away from LMU

Gonzaga will play Texas Tech on a neutral site in 2020-21 season
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Gonzaga will play Texas Tech on a neutral site in 2020-21 season

LOS ANGELES – The #13/13 Gonzaga women’s basketball team used a dominant second half to run past Loyola Marymount 75-47 Thursday evening inside Gersten Pavilion in Los Angeles. The Bulldogs secured the outright West Coast Conference regular-season title with the win.

Gonzaga (26-2, 15-1 WCC) was led by a game-high 21 points from Jill Townsend; Townsend finished 9-of-16 from the floor and added six rebounds and two assists. Jenn Wirth finished with 11 points and seven rebounds while Kayleigh Truong chipped in 10 points with three assists.

The Bulldogs claimed the advantage on the glass 36-24 including 16 offensive rebounds and dominated the paint 30-18. Gonzaga forced 25 turnovers on the Lions that led to 23 points, and the Zags also claimed a 17-6 edge in second-chance points.

“We played three really good quarters today,” head coach Lisa Fortier said. “I thought our team worked through a lot of physicality and continued to seek great team shots throughout the game.”

A slow first half for the Bulldogs, coupled with a 54.5 percent shooting for LMU, saw the scored tied 30-30 after the first 20 minutes. Loyola Marymount (6-20, 3-11 WCC) limited Gonzaga to 40.7 percent shooting from the floor including 25.0 percent from long range.

Gonzaga regrouped at the break and came out with strong full-court pressure, forcing 10 turnovers on the Lions in the third period while putting together a 17-7 run. Townsend scored 12 of her 21 points in the third stanza, helped Gonzaga to its largest lead of the evening thus far, 47-37.

“We really tightened up in the third quarter as a team, especially that last two-and-a-half minutes,” Townsend said. “We didn’t like where the score was at halftime. We knew third quarter we had to make a push.”

GU continued to roll in the fourth, shooting 56.3 percent from the floor and a perfect 4-of-4 from long range for 28 total points in the final 10 minutes. The Zags forced another seven turnovers on the Lions in the final period, combining for 25 total in the contest, the most forced by the Bulldogs this season. GU continued to roll, claiming the 75-47 victory.

Loyola Marymount was led in scoring by Ciera Ellington and Raychel Stanley with nine points each while Naomi Yim added eight.

Gonzaga continues play on the road at Pepperdine Saturday, Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. inside Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.