Gonzaga women’s basketball won their season opener 92-48 against Cal State Bakersfield in the McCarthey Athletic Center on Sunday, Nov. 10. The Zags, ranked as the 23rd best team in the nation heading into this game, looked sharp on both ends of the court, outlasting the Roadrunners for the entire 40 minutes.

“Our intensity this game has awesome,” junior forward Jenn Wirth said. “We were able to outlast this team for all four quarters and that was really big for us, especially early on.”

The game started off closely contested — GU had only a 16-10 lead after the first quarter in part due to CSUB forcing 7 turnovers. 

The Zags' shooting and defense prevailed in the second quarter, however, as GU headed into the locker room at halftime up 44-21.

Through the first half of the contest, the Bulldogs shot 50% from the field and were perfect at the free throw line, compared to the Roadrunners, who shot 34.6% from the field and only converted on two out of their ten three point attempts in the first half.

In her first regular season game as a Zag, freshman guard Kayleigh Truong had 2 steals and 10 points in the first half, and finished with a game-high 18 points in only 23 minutes.

“I always get nervous before a game, especially this one,” Truong said. “My teammates helped me feel comfortable and it helped me get in my flow.”

The game was broken open in the beginning of the second half, when the Zags went on a 21-4 run to grow the lead to 68-30.

During that stretch, Kayleigh Truong had 5 points and an assist, while senior guard Katie Campbell, who shot 0 for 2 in the first half, found her stroke by draining two 3’s. Campbell ended the night with 13 points and 4 of 6 from the field, with all of her shots coming from behind the 3-pt arc.

The Zags ended the third quarter on top 70-36, and only continued to dominate from there. 

The Bulldogs totaled 11 steals and 5 blocks on the night while forcing 18 turnovers.

“We utilized a cerebral defense," coach Lisa Fortier said. "Keeping them away from the ball screen and slowing that part down to make them play from their weaknesses. They had people shooting shots from places they weren’t comfortable shooting from which was good for us. And we didn’t let their drivers get past us to the rim often, if ever, tonight.”

The Rodrunners' offense was stifled all game, shooting 33.3% from the field and 26.1% from 3. Their best scorer of the night, freshman guard Lexus Green, only scored 9 points on 4 for 12 shooting.

The Zags' deep-range shooting opened up towards the end of the game, as the entire team connected on five of their last six three-pointers and ended the night shooting 45.5% beyond the arc.

“Coaches put a lot of emphasis on getting the ball down low and taking advantage of their smaller players because that would then help to open up our outside shot,” Jenn Wirth said. “I think we really capitalized on that towards the end.”

By the time the buzzer went off to signify the end of GU’s season opener, the Bulldogs were sitting with a comfortable 92-48 victory. 

“We’re really excited to keep going from here,” Kayleigh Truong said. “It was a long week of practice in anticipation for this game, but now after this first game, we’re ready to start sprinting into the rest of the season.”

The Zags have another home game on Thursday, Nov. 14 against University of Tennessee-Martin before heading to Palo Alto to play No. 3 Stanford on November 17.

 

Asher Ali is a staff writer.

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