Two teams separated by a few miles met Friday at McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzaga women's basketball added a win to its record after beating Eastern Washington University 84-44.
This win followed the trend of many other GU women’s basketball games. There was no single player who stood out among others. There was no individual who drew the most attention or brought the most energy to help lead her teammates to victory. Several players contributed in a litany of ways.
“We look for each other,” head coach Lisa Fortier said. “The points read seven, eight, nine, 13, nine, 11, 12, four, nine. I mean that’s a lot of different people scoring points.”
Nearly 45 seconds into the game, junior forward Jenn Wirth scored the first basket of the night. Throughout the game, Jenn and LeeAnne Wirth filled their usual roles in rebounding and scoring under the basket. Jenn Wirth also went 5 of 6 at the free-throw line.
Senior guard Jessie Loera scored the first 3-pointer of the night with 7:42 remaining in the first quarter, which ignited the crowd. Following Loera’s basket, senior guard Katie Campbell converted another 3-pointer.
Later in the first quarter, Campbell intercepted a pass, sprinted down the court for a layup and flexed her muscles for the camera.
“I usually don’t flex or do any celebrations for myself," Campbell said. "But it was hyped and it’s a fun game always playing Eastern, so I just had to throw a flex in there."
After the first quarter, GU held a 13-point advantage.
The second quarter brought attention to two new standouts. Freshmen guards Kayleigh and Kaylynne Truong combined for 21 points on the evening, which helped the Bulldogs enter halftime leading 43-26.
Intensity increased during the third quarter. It started with a great out-of-bounds save by Campbell and continued with two steals by Loera. Each play led to a layup. The strong defensive showing allowed GU to nearly double its lead and approach the final frame with a 56-31 edge.
In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs did not relent. Baskets started rolling in with ease and at one point, the Eagles hadn’t scored a field goal for over three minutes.
“I thought we’d come out a little bit more excited in that third quarter and it took until the beginning of the fourth before we really got going,” Fortier said.
Thanks to a 28-point fourth quarter, the Zags ended with a comfortable 84-44 victory. Compared to last year’s game against Eastern, GU found more success. The Bulldogs shot 43.8% from beyond the arc, 51.7% overall and 78.9% at the line. Those numbers were significantly higher than Eastern, which shot 21.7%, 32.1% and 33.3%, respectively.
GU travels to Estero, Florida, for the Gulf Coast Showcase and will face University of Dayton on Friday at 10:30 a.m.