As the first half came to a close Saturday at the McCarthey Center, Gonzaga began to build momentum. It carried that momentum through the second half all the way to a lopsided 101-66 victory over San Francisco. The 22nd ranked Zags improved to 10-1 in WCC play, while the Dons dropped to 3-8.
A back-and-forth first half that included 12 lead changes ended with the Zaps up 50-46 and they never looked back.
“I thought the first half was great, I thought both halves were great,” said head coach, Kelly Graves. “We played [well] tonight.”
Junior Sunny Greinacher kept the Bulldogs in the game for the first 16 minutes with 16 of her 17 points coming in the first half. But it was the Gonzaga bench who put the game away. Led by Junior Lindsey Sherbert with 23 points, the reserves outscored the entire USF team 38-20 in the second half.
“Our bench was terrific tonight,” Graves said, “but that’s kind of been our MO all year.”
The bench play and well distributed scoring helped GU to defeat the Dons. Eight Bulldogs logged at least five points, and along with Sherbert, two other bench players had double digits.
Sophomores Shaniqua Nilles and Kiara Kudron were big contributors for the Zags. Nilles had 11 points and Kudron had 12.
“Those two together were good, said Graves. “We went a little small for a while and that was really key.”
To start the second half, Gonzaga went on a run that was aided by its defense. The Bulldogs forced 13 turnovers, which led to 23 points and got the crowd on its feet. The packed McCarthey Center remained at deafening volumes until the final whistle blew.
“For a fan I would think that was an exciting game to watch,” said Graves.
Those turnovers came from a changed defensive mindset by Graves at halftime.
“We started switching every screen and [USF] struggled with that, “ Graves said. “Suddenly they didn’t have as many openings as they had before.”
Zags rally in second half for 101-66 win over Dons
Gonzaga Bulletin | Feb 2