web vs Wyoming

The Zags forced the Cowgirls into 20 turnovers in their 54-47 victory on Friday night.

The Gonzaga University women’s basketball team (7-1) finished its eighth regular-season game with a tough victory over the Wyoming Cowgirls (3-4) 54-47 on Friday night in the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Before the game started a number of Zag players kneeled during the national anthem and were accompanied by a lot of boos as well as some cheers from the crowd. 

“I completely understand their misunderstanding,” sophomore forward Yvonne Ejim said. “But we want to make sure people have respect and that all people of color are treated fairly. So kneeling is making sure that we continue that conversation so people know that that's what we want.”

The Zags struggled early on offense in the first quarter as the Cowgirls were clogging the lanes and the paint for the Bulldogs 

But Kaylynne Troung, Melody Kempton and Abby O'Connor played well together. Truong facilitated the offense well as she had three assists in the first quarter while scoring two points. Kempton and O’Conner combined to score 8 points in the first and led the Zags to a score of 14-6. 

The second quarter was another defensive battle as both teams were forcing turnovers and contesting shots. Halfway through the quarter, Cowgirls’ Ola Ustowska made three threes in a row and took advantage of a struggling Zags offense giving Wyoming a 17-16 lead at the 5:55 minute mark. 

But the Zags were able to fight off the run thanks to Troung as she made a fade-away two-point shot and three late in the shot-clock to give the Zags the lead back with a score of 21-17. 

The halftime score was 20-25 as the Zags shot 45.5% from the field, 4-for-4 from the free-throw line but had eight turnovers to finish the half. 

The third quarter started off well for the Zags as they scored three two-point baskets in a row from Melody Kempton giving the Zags an 11 point lead at the 5:52 minute mark and leading the Zags to a score of 31-37.  

The fourth quarter was more or less the same as the Zags and Cowgirls were both playing well defensively. The game was close all the way till the final buzzer but O’Conner got a steal near the end of the game to seal it for the Zags. 

“Our team has done a really nice job of digesting the plays, scouting our opponents and trying to make players play to their weaknesses,” GU head coach Lisa Fortier. “That's always what we tried to do and I think we’ve been effective at doing that.” 

Kempton finished as the top scorer of the game with 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting, with two steals and four blocks as well. 

O'Connor won player of the game, as she scored nine points, grabbed 10 rebounds, two steals and one block. Yvonne played well too scoring 10 points off the bench.  

Starting guard and team leader in both points and assists Kayleigh Truong was out again with her sister Kaylynne Truong taking over her point guard duties. But Coach Fortier was hopeful about her return saying she was day-to-day. 

But regardless Coach Fortier was impressed with Kaylynne’s play and said that both players bring unique skill sets to the offense. 

The Zags will face off against the Washington State Cougars on Wednesday, Dec. 12th in the McCarthey Athletic Center. 

Daniel Fortin is a staff writer.