Bulldogs have winning streak snapped in Provo against BYU
PROVO, Utah– The No. 16/16 Gonzaga women’s basketball team fell at BYU 61-56 Thursday evening inside the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. It marked the first West Coast Conference loss for the Zags this season.
Gonzaga (18-3, 13-1 WCC) finished with two players in double-figures, led by Jenn Wirth with a game-high 18 points and 10 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the season. Melody Kempton added 10 points and four rebounds in 20 minutes of play.
As a squad, GU shot 37.5 percent from the floor and 25.0 percent from long range while finishing 8-of-9 from the charity stripe to shoot 88.9 percent. The Zags won the boards with a 35-30 rebounding edge while forcing 16 turnovers on BYU (15-3, 11-2 WCC). The Cougars claimed the edge inside the paint, outscoring the Zags 26-24, while Gonzaga’s bench outscored BYU’s 18-7.
BYU opened the scoring in the first quarter, jumping out to an 8-2 lead before a 6-0 Bulldog run tied the game at 8-all. Gonzaga overcame a tough shooting quarter (30.8 percent) with a strong defensive effort as the Zags forced six turnovers on BYU in the opening 10 minutes, leading to five points. By the end of the first, the score was tied 12-all.
Kayleigh Truong hit a trey for the Zags 22 seconds into the second quarter, but BYU responded with a quick 5-0 run to take a 17-15 lead, a lead the Cougars would hold until a bucket from Anamaria Virjoghe at the 5:17 mark put Gonzaga in front, 22-21. That bucket sparked a 9-4 run that gave Gonzaga a six-point advantage (29-23) with just under 90 seconds remaining in the half. The Cougars, fueled by two buckets from Shaylee Gonzales and a jumper from Lauren Gustin, were able to cut the lead to one in the final seconds of the half, leaving Gonzaga with a one-point advantage (30-31) heading into the break.
In the third, Gonzaga was outscored 17-12 in the quarter, giving the Cougars a four-point advantage (47-43) heading into the final period. A jumper from Jenn Wirth to open the period cut the lead to two, but an 8-0 run in favor of BYU gave the Cougars their largest lead of the game at 10 points (55-45) with 5:40 remaining. Gonzaga responded, sparked by jumper from Jenn Wirth with 3:58 to go, the Zags scored seven unanswered points over the next 90 seconds to cut the lead to three, 55-52. Just under two minutes later, with 46 seconds remaining, Kayleigh Truong hit a driving layup in the paint to bring Gonzaga within one point, 57-56.
BYU’s Paisley Harding hit a jumper on the ensuing possession, giving the Zags a three-point deficit. Gonzaga missed the three-point attempt on the ensuing possession, and a tie-up on the rebound awarded the jump ball to BYU with eight seconds remaining. Gonzaga fouled BYU several times to get to the bonus, where the Cougars hit both free throws to take the 61-56 victory.
BYU finished with four players in double-figures, led by Shaylee Gonzales with 16 points. Paisley Harding added 12 points, while Lauren Gustin and Sara Hampson added 10 each.