Offensive Explosion Pushes Zags By Cal State Fullerton
SPOKANE, Wash. - It was another impressive start to the second half that led Gonzaga to a lopsided 83-44 victory over Cal State Fullerton at the McCarthey Athletic Center Sunday afternoon. The Bulldogs opened the final half scoring 21 points in the first six minutes - while holding the Titans to six - to break open a 26-point edge. The lead never dwindled below 20 points for the remainder of the contest.
"For whatever reason this year we have become a better second half time," explained head coach Kelly Graves after the game. "We have good starts to the second half and I think it is a good characteristic to have."
The long-range shot is what got Gonzaga (9-2) rolling in the final 20 minutes. The Bulldogs first made field goal was a 3-pointer by senior Taelor Karr. They would go on to drain four more in the crucial first six minute spurt, including an additional two from Karr.
"Taelor was huge for us," said Graves. "Her hitting those 3-pointers stretched the defense and it became even tougher for Fullerton to deal with us inside."
Gonzaga, who had hit only seven 3-pointers over the last three games combined, closed out the half sinking six 3-pointers and nailed eight in the ball game.
More impressive than their offensive explosion was the Zags defense in the second stanza. Gonzaga held Cal State Fullerton (2-7) to 15 points, including 11 in first 17 minutes. It was the second-straight game the Bulldogs held an opponent under 20 points in the second half, having held Portland State to 17 on Friday.
Ten players had a hand in the Bulldogs highest scoring half this season of 43 points. Karr led the way in the second with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, while freshman Kiara Kudron came off the bench to add seven points.
"The most important part of the second half, besides our energy, was our execution," stated Graves of his team who hit 41.2 percent from the field and 50.0 percent of its 3-pointers in the second stanza.
Despite Gonzaga opening the game 6-0, it was a pretty tight first half between the two institutions. Cal State Fullerton even led 13-10 at the 13:23 mark after a 3-pointer by the Titans Chante Miles broke the tie.
The Bulldogs would eventually tie the game again a 3-pointer by sophomore Keani Albanez and, after the Titans tied it for the fourth time in the half, finally took the lead for good on a jumper by sophomore Sunny Greinacher.
The Zags finally started to pull away from Cal State Fullerton in the final two minutes of the half. Leading by five at 34-29 with 1:44 on the clock, Gonzaga rattled off seven-straight points to claim a 40-29 advantage at halftime; its then-first double-figure lead of the game.
Greinacher was the potent offensive spark for GU in the first half, scoring 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
For the game Gonzaga made 29 field goals, with 22 being credited with an assist. The Bulldogs bench was another bright spot, scoring 35 points.
Greinacher led the Zags with 16 points; tying her career-high. Karr added her 11, while Palmer chipped in 10.
Miles led the Titans and all scorers with 18 points.
The Bulldogs now have a week to focus on finals. They will not be back in action until Monday, December 17 when they host Ohio State University.