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Thread: #25/25 Gonzaga Faces Montana in Only Non-Conference Home Game Sunday at 2pm

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    Post #25/25 Gonzaga Faces Montana in Only Non-Conference Home Game Sunday at 2pm

    #25/25 WBB Faces Montana in Only Non-Conference Home Game Sunday

    Marks the 32nd meeting in history between the two programs


    SPOKANE, Wash. – The No. 25/25 Gonzaga women's basketball team face Montana Sunday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. inside the McCarthey Athletic Center for its only non-conference home contest of the season.

    #25/25 GONZAGA (2-2) vs. MONTANA (1-1)
    DEC. 13 | 2 P.M. | SPOKANE, WA | McCARTHEY ATHLETIC CENTER
    TELEVISION: SWX | LIVE STREAM | LIVE STATS


    THE TIP-OFF

    - After two weeks on the road to open the 2020-21 season, Gonzaga returns to the McCarthey Athletic Center for its only home game of the non-conference season.

    - This series dates back to the 1980-81 season with Gonzaga first faced Montana in Missoula. The Griz won the first 10 meetings in the series between 1981 and 1993 before GU picked up its first win on Jan. 6, 1994 with a 70-62 victory in Spokane. Montana currently leads the series 17-14, but Gonzaga has won the last seven straight meetings.

    - Gonzaga bounced back in a big way on Tuesday, running past Wyoming 89-50. Jenn Wirth led the way with 16 points and 10 rebounds, her first double-double of the season, while Cierra Walker added 12 points on a perfect 4-of-4 from long range. LeeAnne Wirth chipped in 10 points, five rebounds and three blocks. As a team, the Zags shot 60 percent from long range and 55 percent for the game, their top shooting performance of the young season.

    - Sunday marks just the fifth time in program history that the Bulldogs have played on Dec. 13. Gonzaga has an unblemished 4-0 record on the date.

    - For the second time in program history, the Bulldogs were ranked in the preseason Associated Press Poll. Gonzaga debuted at No. 21 in the AP poll and at No. 20 ranking in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches Poll. It marks the third time in history GU has been ranked in the preseason coaches poll and the second-straight season.

    - Currently, Gonzaga is ranked 25th in both the AP and Coaches polls. The Bulldogs have now been ranked or receiving votes for 41 consecutive voting weeks, dating back to Dec. 3, 2018.

    - The Bulldogs return three starters and nine letter winners from last season's squad that claimed the Zags' fourth consecutive West Coast Conference regular season title.

    - In 2019-20, Gonzaga rose to its highest regular-season national ranking ever, securing a No. 11 AP and No. 10 ranking in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches Poll.

    Prior to the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Zags were predicted as high as a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and were expected to host the First and Second Rounds for the first time since the NCAA changed hosting rules for the tournament in 2014-15.

    - Gonzaga returns 79.1 percent of its scoring and 79.2 percent of its rebounding from last season.

    - Gonzaga returns as one of the top defensive teams in the nation from a season ago. In 2019-20, the Bulldogs ranked third in the nation in scoring defense, limiting opponents to 51.9 points per game.

    - The Bulldogs won 28 games last season, including a 17-1 mark in WCC play to tie their own record for wins in a conference season. It was the fourth-straight 25+ win season and 12th 25+ win season in the last 13 seasons.

    SERIES NOTES

    - This will be the 32nd meeting between Gonzaga and Montana. The Griz lead the series 17-14, but Gonzaga has won the last seven meetings.

    - In the last meeting, the Bulldogs defeated UM 76-52 in the home- and season-opener on Nov. 7, 2018.

    - The two programs met annually from 1987-2012 but took a brief hiatus from 2013-17. Montana dominated the series early, winning 10-straight contests to open the series from 1981-93, but the Zags have won the last seven and nine of the last 11.

    SCOUTING THE GRIZ

    - Montana is 1-1 on the season, with a win over North Dakota (86-72) in Missoula and a loss at Utah State (81-74) in Logan, Utah.

    - The Griz average 80.0 points per game shooting 44.9 percent from the floor and 37.8 percent from long range. UM adds 38.5 rebounds per contest and 19.0 assists per game.

    - Three players average double-figures for the Griz, led by Carmen Gfeller at 23.5 points per game (that also leads the Big Sky Conference) shooting 63.3 percent from the floor. Sophia Stiles adds 13.0 points per contest to go along with a team-high 7.0 rebounds per game, while Abby Anderson adds 11.5 points per game.

    - Montana returns three starters and four letter winners from last season's team that finished 17-13 overall with a 12-8 mark in Big Sky play, good for a tie for fourth place. This season, the Griz added eight newcomers. Of the newcomers, three are transfers and five are freshmen.

    IT'S GOOD TO BE HOME

    Gonzaga entered this season owning the eighth longest active Division I home winning streak at 18 games, and this will be the first home game for the Zags since a 53-46 win over Santa Clara on Feb. 15, 2020. On Sunday, it will have been 302 days since GU took the floor in an official game inside The Kennel.

    STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

    Currently, Gonzaga leads the WCC and ranks 30th nationally in field goal percentage at 47.4 percent. The Zags also claim the top spot in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.41.
    Gonzaga Article Link

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    Pre-Game summary by the Spokesman-Review:

    Finally at home, Gonzaga women host Montana in lone nonconference game in the Kennel
    UPDATED: Sat., Dec. 12, 2020

    By Jim Allen
    jima@spokesman.com
    (509) 459-5437

    For the Gonzaga women, Sunday promises a home opener like none before.

    The Zags and Montana will play in a near-empty McCarthey Athletic Center, with room for only essential personnel.

    Sadly, that means no family or friends, another tough blow for a team that has seen so many.

    Last year, the Zags were 28-3 and expecting to open the NCAA Tournament in the Kennel. But COVID-19 intervened, ending that season and pushing back the start of this one.

    In a typical year, the Zags would have played 10 games by now, at least half of them at McCarthey.

    “I really wish we could have had more than one game at home,” GU head coach Lisa Fortier said.

    The 25th-ranked Zags will be a solid favorite over the Grizzlies (1-1), who opened the season with a seven-point loss at Utah State before routing North Dakota 86-72 in Missoula.

    Gonzaga is only 2-2, but that record was earned with nail-biting losses against then-No. 1 South Carolina and South Dakota State, and wins over South Dakota and Wyoming.

    The 89-50 win at Wyoming on Tuesday was gratifying; not only did GU assert its strength inside (owning the boards 44-17) but also its versatility.

    Late in the game in Laramie, Fortier recalled looking up at the scoreboard and realizing that star guard Jill Townsend – who’d come into the game averaging 22 points – had only four.

    In the previous game at South Dakota State, Townsend had a career-high 29 points partly because “we were directing the shots to her,” Fortier said.

    “That wasn’t the case against Wyoming,” Fortier said.

    “We were very efficient offensively, and worked really well together for a good mix of interior and perimeter baskets.”

    Townsend and Jenn Wirth (11.3 ppg) are the only Zags averaging double figures, but four others are above 6 ppg.

    GU also found its shooting touch from long range, going 12 for 20 to boost the team average to 40.5%.

    Montana comes in with a new coach in Mike Petrino, whose motion offense has paid off for redshirt sophomore forward Carmen Gfeller. The Colfax product is averaging 23.5 points and six rebounds.

    The other key player for Montana is junior guard Sophia Stiles (13.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg).

    “They’re a very good team, and they’re always going to be physical,” Fortier said. “But I don’t think they have as much depth as we do.”
    Article Link: https://www.spokesman.com/stories/20...ntana-in-lone/

    ZagDad

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    Lady Zags start 1 for 7 from the field...

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    At the end of the 1st quarter, Gonzga leads 15-9...

    Zags are shooting 5 of 19 from the field 26%...shooting 1 of 5 from beyond the arc 20%...

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    At the half, Gonzaga leads 30-23...

    Zags are only shooting 28% from the field (10 of 36)...and shooting only 25% from beyond the arc (2 of 8)...

    LeeAnne Wirth leads the Zags with 10 points...

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    Zags scoreless for the last 1:33 but continue to lead 39-30...

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    Gonzaga leads Montana 46-34 at the end of the 3rd quarter...

    LeeAnne Wirth leads the Lady Zags with 12 points...

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    Early in the 4th quarter, Zags scoreless for the last 2:51...

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    Lady Zags lead cut to 46-42...

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    Zags with 3 straight turnovers...

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    Jenn Wirth with a big block...Zags lead 51-46...

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    Gonzaga leads 53-46 with 36 seconds left...

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    Gonzaga on a 7-0 run...

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    Gonzaga defeats Montana 58-51...

    LeeAnne Wirth finishes with 12 points and 8 rebounds...

    Cierra Walker is next with 10 points...

    Jenn Wirth and Jill Townsend follow with 8 points each...

    https://admin.gozags.com/sidearmstats/wbball/media

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    A win is a win, but will have to play much better to beat Portland & BYU.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pony View Post
    A win is a win, but will have to play much better to beat Portland & BYU.
    All I can say is, Washington will finish in the bottom 4 of the Pac 12 yet gain this year but beat both Portland and BYU by nearly 30 this season. I didn't see the BYU game, but the Pilots did not look good today.

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    Zags Outlast Montana In Lone Non-Conference Home Contest

    Bulldogs withstand late Griz push to secure the win

    Watch Highlights: https://youtu.be/hPPsbC0fKb8?list=PL239ABFAC2BD0DA4A

    Gonzaga 58 - Montana 51 Box Score Link

    SPOKANE, Wash.The No. 25/25 Gonzaga women's basketball team withstood a late-game Montana run to earn the 58-51 victory Sunday afternoon inside the McCarthey Athletic Center.

    Gonzaga (3-2) finished with two players in double-figures, led by LeeAnne Wirth with 12 points and eight [rebounds] fouls while Cierra Walker added 10 points and four steals. Both Jenn Wirth and Jill Townsend chipped in nine points each.

    As a team, Gonzaga shot 31.1 percent from the floor and 27.8 percent from long range—their lowest percentages of the young season—while edging the Griz on the glass 40-36. The Bulldogs forced 19 turnovers on Montana (1-2), scoring 17 points off those turnovers. Gonzaga held Montana to 39.2 percent shooting from the floor and 17.6 percent from three.

    "We need to keep getting better," Head Coach Lisa Fortier said. "We have a lot to work on still. Obviously, we did not shoot the ball well today; we were out of rhythm. Which Montana got us out of rhythm. They played really hard, and they played really strong and tough."

    It was a slow start for either team, and just under five minutes in the first quarter the score was tied 4-4. An and-1 from LeeAnne Wirth with 5:06 to go sparked an 11-5 run over the final five minutes to put GU in front by six, 15-9.

    The scoring struggles continued into the second quarter as both squads shot under 30 percent for the quarter. The Zags were able to build a nine-point lead (28-19) late in the period behind a strong showing at the line—6-of-8 for the quarter—but a late free throw from the Griz cut the lead to seven heading into the break, 30-23.

    Solid shooting and strong defense helped Gonzaga extend its lead to as many as 14 in the third period. The Zags hit 7-of-17 attempts to shoot 41.2 percent, outscoring Montana 16-11 in the stanza. The Bulldogs added nine points off eight Griz turnovers and held a 12-point advantage (46-34) with 10 minutes to go.

    A quick 8-0 Montana run to open the fourth cut the lead to four, 46-42, with just under seven minutes remaining. The Griz shot 57.1 percent from the floor compared to Gonzaga's 25.0 percent shooting, outscoring the Zags 17-12 in the final quarter. With 4:42 to go, Montana's Carmen Gfeller hit a jumper to cut the lead to two (48-46), but the Zags countered with a big three from Kayleigh Truong two minutes later. The Bulldogs sealed the win with free throw shooting down the stretch, hitting 7-of-10 attempts in the final quarter to put the Griz away, 58-51.

    Montana was led by Sophia Stiles with a game-high 15 points to go along with four steals, two assists and four rebounds. Gfeller also finished in double-figures with 12.

    "We're going to keep getting better," Fortier said. "We don't want to be our best right now. There are still a lot of bright spots on the team."

    Gonzaga returns to the floor Sunday, Dec. 20 against Eastern Michigan in the first game of the Holiday Hoops Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. Check GoZags.com for up-to-date game time information.

    Gonzaga Article Link

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    Here is a link to a picture gallery by the Spokesman Review of today's Lady Zag vs Montana game:

    Gallery Link: https://www.spokesman.com/galleries/...a-dec-13-2020/

    ZagDad

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    Game Summary from the Slipper Still Fits:

    Gonzaga Overcomes Brutal Shooting Afternoon in Home Opening Win
    The Zags take the win in their lone non-conference game in Spokane.
    By Peter Woodburn@wernies
    Dec 13, 2020, 4:02pm PST

    The Gonzaga Bulldogs looked a bit weary by the time they finally made it back to Spokane for the first time this season, grinding out a gutsy 58-51 win over the Montana Grizzlies.

    Montana just would not leave the Bulldogs alone throughout the contest, although the Grizzlies rarely lead throughout the game. Gonzaga led by as many as 14 to close out the third quarter. Montana threatened in the fourth quarter, pulling to within two with 4:42 left, but the Gonzaga defense kept Montana at length to close out the game.

    Gonzaga’s top two-leading scorers, Jill Townsend and Jenn Wirth, struggled to get their shots to fall throughout the contest, scoring six and nine points, respectively. Wirth picked up a bit of that slack by gathering five offensive rebounds and swatting two shots, but she also turned the ball over five times.

    Overall, the Zags got stops when they needed stops and they made shots when they needed shots. With the lead at two in the fourth quarter, and after two-consecutive turnovers on poor passes into the post, Jenn Wirth was able to kick it out to Kayleigh Truong for her only three-point make of the evening.

    LeeAnne Wirth led the Zags with 12 points and Cierra Walker chipped in 10. Overall, those points were hard to come by. The Zags offense looked stagnant at times, generating just nine assists as a team, much lower than the season mark of 20.3 per game.

    The Zags, who normally shoot over 50 percent as a team shot just 31.1 percent from the floor and 27.8 from three-point range.

    But as is the Gonzaga way, the defense held strong. Through the mix of man-to-man and the zones thrown in, the Zags forced 19 turnovers and held Montana 36.7 percent from the floor. Through sheer grit, the Grizzlies wouldn’t politely leave Gonzaga alone until the waning seconds of the game.

    That wraps up Gonzaga’s lone home game for the non-conference slate this year. In a week, the Zags will head to Las Vegas for the Holiday Hoops Classic against Eastern Michigan University and University of North Alabama to close out non-conference play.
    Article Link: https://www.slipperstillfits.com/202...sketball-recap

    ZagDad

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    Game Summary from the University of Montana Wbb website:

    Lady Griz Push No. 25 Bulldogs, Fall by Seven
    Montana Sports Information
    12/13/2020 6:47:00 PM

    It wasn't a one-possession game at the end, but it felt like Sunday's contest between Montana and No. 25 Gonzaga at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane may have come down to a single shot. Or two.

    After going on a 14-2 run that cut the Bulldogs' lead to two, 48-46, and probably had the cutouts in the stands chewing on their cardboard fingernails, the Lady Griz had two shots that would have given them the lead with less than four minutes to go. But they were off the mark, and Gonzaga's Kayleigh Truong answered with a triple of her own at the other end to make it 51-46 with 2:48 left, and that would be the game's big blow.

    The Bulldogs, who lost by seven earlier this season to then No. 1 South Carolina, made their free throws down the stretch and held off the Lady Griz, who were looking for their first victory over a ranked opponent since 2004, 58-51.

    It was Montana's closest result against a ranked opponent since knocking off No. 24 Utah by three back in January 2004.

    "I'm very proud of the girls. They competed their hearts out. We put ourselves in position. They just made a few more plays than we did," said first-year coach Mike Petrino. "But the effort was there. I was really proud of the effort. It was a very competitive effort. I loved it. Even when we were down, we kept fighting."

    Montana was fighting out of its weight class, given Gonzaga starts 6-foot-3 Jenn and LeeAnne Wirth and can roll with 6-foot-5 Anamaria Virjoghe off the bench. That size differential was a factor early on. The Bulldogs took 20 shots in the first quarter to the Lady Griz' 10 because of seven offensive rebounds and six Montana turnovers. It made it tough to function, and Gonzaga led 15-9 at the first break.

    "The first quarter they got so many offensive rebounds and so many second-chance points," said Petrino, whose team showed its moxie in the second.

    The Lady Griz would fight to within four midway through the second quarter and go to the locker room at the half trailing 30-23. The score and shooting percentages -- both teams were in the upper 20s through 20 minutes -- would indicate an ugly game. That's in the eye of the beholder.

    "The first thing we always ask about is the effort, and I thought the girls' focus, effort, energy and competitiveness were there," said Petrino. "We didn't shoot very well. The effort we put into defending them was probably the best result we had. You can say those are shots they normally make, but then again we missed shots we normally make too."

    Gonzaga appeared ready to pull away in the third quarter, building a pair of 14-point leads. But after Melody Kempton put her team up 46-32 with 1:49 left in the period, Montana began its comeback. The Bulldogs missed six straight shots, and Petrino went to every player he thought might give his team a spark. In Monday's home victory over North Dakota, it was the upperclassmen who led the fourth-quarter charge. On Sunday it was freshman Joelnell Momberg scoring early in the final period, her first points as a Lady Griz. Then it was freshman Willa Albrecht, who scored inside to make it 46-42. After Jill Townsend, who is on the 50-player watch list for the Naismith Trophy, or the national player of the year, scored for Gonzaga, Carmen Gfeller connected twice. And Montana was within two, 48-46.

    "When you're struggling scoring, you can't be afraid to try new things," said Petrino of his various lineups that sparked his team's rally. "We tried new things with players who maybe have not been in that position before, but we have to learn."

    After Montana forced a turnover, one of three for Gonzaga in a critical 77-second stretch, the Lady Griz had their shot. Two, actually. Either of the 3-pointers they got would have given them the lead. Who knows what happens if either connects?

    "First of all, we got stops," said Petrino, whose team held Gonzaga to two made baskets in the fourth quarter. "We did a good job of guarding them without fouling them. And they're big. They are huge. "Second, we did a good job of just playing. The girls did a good job of just playing and reacting and moving the ball. We had balanced scoring during that stretch."

    The second of the two baskets Gonzaga made in the fourth quarter was Truong's triple with just under three to go. Cierra Walker, a transfer from Vanderbilt, would hit four free throws to extend the lead to nine, 55-46, before Montana would score again.

    "There were a couple big possessions we'll look back at as coaches and players, some critical possessions we wish we could have back, but I thought the effort was there," said Petrino. "Credit to Gonzaga. They made more plays than we did. They are a really good team."

    Sophia Stiles led both teams with 15 points and had four more steals, giving her 13 through three games. It was part of a collective effort that held Gonzaga to 31.1 percent shooting. The Bulldogs shot 52.7 percent against South Carolina, 55.0 percent in its 39-point road win at Wyoming on Tuesday. It was more than two years ago that Gonzaga was held to a lower percentage, by Colorado State in November 2018.

    But 18 offensive rebounds turned into 11 important second-chance points, and Gonzaga turned Montana's 19 turnovers into 17 points. The Bulldogs' 14 turnovers resulted in just four Lady Griz points.

    Gfeller added 12 points, Madi Schoening again did the dirty work on her way to nine points and nine rebounds, four of which came on the offensive end.

    "Madi was a beast on the boards," said Petrino. "If she didn't get the ball, she got a piece of it. If she didn't get it and they got it, they had to earn it. "Now we've got to play a tough team on Tuesday. We're going to have some sore bodies, some tired bodies. It's going to feel like we played a couple of games today."

    That team will be Seattle, which Montana will face at 3 p.m. (MT) on Tuesday. The Redhawks are 2-3, including a 75-72 overtime win at home over Utah State, the team Montana lost to in its season opener.

    "Their last game was Thursday, so they'll be fresh and we won't, but no excuses," said Petrino. "We have to rally and keep getting better. This is what we want."
    Article link: https://gogriz.com/news/2020/12/13/w...-by-seven.aspx

    ZagDad

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    From the Spokesman-Review:

    Gonzaga Women Hold off Montana 58-51 at the Kennel
    UPDATED: Sun., Dec. 13, 2020
    By Jim Allen
    jima@spokesman.com
    (509) 459-5437

    Long before the basketball season finally began, Gonzaga coach Lisa Fortier and her players have tried to focus on what they could control and try to ignore the rest.

    Easier said than done, especially Sunday afternoon at the Kennel, where Montana had chipped a 14-point GU lead to two late in the fourth quarter. That would have been the cue for a sellout crowd to get on its feet and push the Zags to the finish line.

    However, you can get only so much energy out of cardboard cutouts, even 300 of them; so much for home-court advantage. So the Zags made their own, regaining their composure and shooting touch to hold off the Lady Griz, 58-51.

    With just under three minutes left and Gonzaga clinging to a 48-46 lead, it fell to sophomore guard Kayleigh Truong to seize the moment. The Griz had just missed a 3-point shot that would have given them the lead. After a turnover by each team, Jenn Wirth whipped the ball to the top of the arc and Truong let fly.

    “I just wanted to make a difference,” said Truong, who did just that, draining a 3-pointer to give GU a 51-46 lead. Montana would never get that close again as the 25th-ranked Zags made 7 of 8 free throws, avoiding a major upset.

    “We’re going to keep getting better,” Fortier said. “We don’t want to be our best right now.”

    However, the Zags certainly have been tested, their 3-2 record fashioned out of four games decided by a combined 21 points and a blowout win last week at Wyoming. Montana, picked to finish sixth in the Big Sky Conference, didn’t figure to pose a major challenge. However, the Lady Griz (1-2) managed to disrupt GU’s offensive flow for most of the afternoon. The Lady Griz also didn’t back down in the paint against the taller Zags; instead, they set the tone with three early blocked shots.

    For the game, Gonzaga shot 31% from the field and just 28% from long range, and barely won the rebounding battle 40-26.

    “We definitely need to be stronger,” said senior forward Lee Anne Wirth, who finished with a team-high 12 points and eight rebounds. “It was apparent they weren’t going to let up on us – they were being really tough.”

    However, the Zags made up for it on the defensive end, holding Montana to 39% shooting and just 17% from long range. GU took a 15-9 lead on Cierra Walker’s no-look pass for a layup to LeeAnne Wirth and a fastbreak layin from Truong. Up 30-23 at intermission, GU dominated the third quarter, pushing the advantage to 46-34 going into the fourth. However, the Lady Griz opened the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run, prompting a timeout from Fortier.

    “We have a lot to work on still,” Fortier said. “Obviously, we did not shoot the ball well today. We were out of rhythm. Which Montana got us out of rhythm. They played really hard, and they played really strong and tough.”

    Montana got even closer. Carmen Gfeller, a sophomore from Colfax, hit a turnaround jumper to make it 48-46, and after a GU turnover, Montana had a chance to take the lead.
    However Gfeller misfired, leading to Truong’s big 3-pointer.

    The Griz got a game-high 15 points from Sophia Stiles, plus 12 points and seven rebounds from Gfeller.

    Up next for the Zags is finals week, followed by a two-game getaway to Las Vegas for the Holiday Hoops Classic. GU plays Eastern Michigan on Sunday and North Alabama a day later.

    The Zags open West Coast Conference play Dec. 28 at Loyola Marymount.

    Their next home game is Jan. 2 against Saint Mary’s.
    Article Link: https://www.spokesman.com/stories/20...montana-58-51/

    ZagDad

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