Women's Hoops Nipped At Gonzaga

Women's Hoops Nipped At Gonzaga

Spokane, Wash. - Desire Finnie scored a game-high 24 points, but a cold third quarter by the Pacific women's basketball team allowed Gonzaga to rally back for 68-61 WCC win.

Hailie Eackles added 14 points while Najah Queenland chipped in 12.

The Tigers led 27-24 at half, but Gonzaga stormed out with a 12-5 run to open the third quarter and force Pacific into playing catch-up. The Bulldogs out-scored Pacific 44-34 in the second half, including 24-12 in the third quarter.

Emily Simons added seven rebounds for Pacific, while Finnie and Queenland each grabbed five. Pacific forced 23 Gonzaga turnovers and turned them into 16 points, but Gonzaga controlled the glass with a 45-24 rebounding advantage.

The Tigers defense clamped down in the first half, but in the second, the Bulldogs shot 53 percent (16-of-30) and hit 5-of-6 from three-point range.

Kiara Kudron and Queenland traded buckets to open the contest. Finnie gave the Tigers a 4-2 lead, and then knocked down a pair of threes for a 10-5 Pacific advantage. Finnie added a baseline jumper, but Georgia Stirton answered with a three to cut the Tigers lead to 12-9. Pacific answered another Finnie three and Queenland lay-up to stretch the lead to 17-9 before Zhane Templeton hit a three from the corner for Gonzaga. The Bulldogs added a pair of free throws before the end of the quarter as Pacific led 17-14 after the first.

The Tigers shot 50% from the field in the first and held Gonzaga to 4-of-17. But the Bulldogs hit 4 of 8 from the free throw line while the Tigers didn't get to the stripe.

Gonzaga opened the second with a bucket and a three from Jill Barta to take a 19-17 lead. GeAnna Luaulu-Summers tied the game at 19 with a pair of free throws. Tied at 21, Emma Stach hit a three for Gonzaga for their largest lead. Luaulu-Summers hit a 19-foot jumper, and Finnie added a jumper from the outside to put Pacific back in front, 25-24 with 1:32 to go before halftime. Eackles came up with a steal and took it the distance as Pacific led 27-24 at the half.

Pacific forced 12 first half turnovers and held Gonzaga to 28 percent shooting (7-of-25). The Tigers hit on 10-of-27 from the field (37 percent) and held an 8-4 edge in points in the paint.

Stach opened the second half with a triple to tie the game for Gonzaga, Stirton added a fade-away as the Bulldogs took the lead. Kudron added a jumper for 9-0 Gonzaga run. Eackles knocked down quick lay-up and Finnie canned a three from the corner to cut the Zags' lead down to 36-32. Barta added three-pointer for the Bulldogs largest lead to that point at 39-32.

Queenland added a three-pointer from the wing and a pair of free throws, trimming the deficit to 41-37. Finnie drove to the rim and finished for a 7-0 Pacific run. But the Bulldogs answered with a jumper and a Stash three, outscoring Pacific 24-12 in the third.

Mauriana Clayton scored inside on consecutive possessions, but Gonzaga answered each time.  A three-point play from Barta stretched the lead to 58-47 with 7:08 to go.

Eackles and Queenland each knocked down three-pointers as Pacific pulled within five with five to go. Shelby Cheslek responded with a post-bucket and a pair of free throws.

Eackles added a pair of free throws and a three-pointer to pull within four. But Gonzaga posted a bucket and a stop, and then milked the clock before a floater stretched the lead back to eight.

Luaulu-Summers completed an and-one to cut the deficit to five, but the Tigers came up empty on the next two possessions as Gonzaga ran out the clock.

Finnie connected on her first five shots of the game, and finished 9-of-14 from the field with her fourth 20+ point game of the season. She bit four-of-six from three-point range and finished one shy of her career-best in points.

Pacific falls to 10-10 on the season, 3-6 in West Coast Conference play. Gonzaga improves to 14-7 overall, 6-3 in WCC action.

The Tigers face Saint Mary's on Saturday, at 1 p.m.