Townsend vs, Pepperdine

Jill Townsend led in the scoring column on Thursday night after dropping 23 points on 8-12 FG shooting.

The Gonzaga women’s basketball team came out strong on Thursday night to defeat Pepperdine University 95-49 in the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Although Pepperdine won the tip-off, Lee Anne Wirth scored the first basket of the game at minute 9:04. Several GU steals and Pepperdine turnovers later, the Zags had a 11-0 lead, forcing the Waves to use a timeout.

By the end of the first quarter, the Zags were shooting nearly 60% from the field and 57.1% from beyond the arc to take a 19-point lead, while Pepperdine was shooting 22.2% from the field. It wasn’t until minute 5:19 that Pepperdine’s Malia Bambrick scored their first basket of the game.

The Zags dominated the first quarter with their passing and unbeatable connection with each other. They made all the right runs, found all the right gaps and distributed the ball with ease to get good looks.

“Our offense was flowing and that started right off the get-go,” senior forward Lee Anne Wirth said. “Our point guards were getting outlets really quickly and just pushing; high tempo games are what we thrive in.”

GU’s offense continued to control the game by drawing fouls and getting to the line to score extra points. Another dominant aspect of their offense was their 27 assists, nearly 10 more than their average for the season, which is 17.3.

Their defense was consistently just as strong as their offense, allowing Pepperdine to shoot just 35% from the field. Along with their persistent defense, the Zags’ effort shined through with 40 rebounds and 10 steals.

“I think it’s probably got to be one of our most complete games this season,” GU head coach Lisa Fortier said.

Along with everyone else playing their respective roles in the game, Jill Townsend scored an astounding 23 points over 18 minutes of play to add to her already 1,000-point career. She also had 6 assists and 8 rebounds to compliment her amazing performance.

In the 18 minutes that Jenn Wirth played, she became the second Zag this season to achieve 1,000 total points. With that, Lee Anne Wirth was the second-highest scorer of the game with 16 points and a high shot percentage of 88.9%.

However, more than just the starters got a chance to shine during this game. Eliza Hollingsworth and Louise Forsyth tied for third most points scored coming off the bench.

“We got to just play a lot of people who don’t have a ton of experience,” Fortier said.

The team really showed their offensive prowess with a field goal percentage of 56.1% for the night. They also shot the three ball well throughout the game, ending with a higher-than-average percentage of 43.5%. Although, this was the one area that Pepperdine beat-out GU. They shot slightly better from beyond the arc, making 43.8% of their shots.

GU won this game by dominating from both the offensive and the defensive end, barely letting Pepperdine get a shot off. Even with a whopping 95 points, each shot was well-executed and confident.

“Really, our team turned down good shots for great shots for most of the evening,” Fortier said.

GU will go on to play Loyola Marymount University for senior night Saturday afternoon.

Samantha DiMaio is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter: @dimaio_samantha

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