Zags Falter Down The Stretch; Fall 80-77 To Marquette
Nov. 28, 2008
MILWAUKEE, Wisc. - The Gonzaga University women's basketball team was outscored 17-6 over the final 7:34 and dropped a heartbreaking 80-77 loss to Marquette University in its first game of the WBCA Classic, hosted by the Golden Eagles at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee, Wisc. The Bulldogs, who held a 71-63 lead going into the final stretch against MU, dropped their first game of the season and are now 5-1 on the year. Marquette stayed perfect with the win and is 5-0.
Sophomore point guard Courtney Vandersloot was exceptional in orchestrating a Bulldogs' offense that withstood five lead changes to control a 39-33 lead at the intermission. Last year's West Coast Conference Newcomer of the Year finished with a career-high -- and Al McGuire Center record -- 32 points and eight rebounds, while dishing out eight assists.
At one point, Vandersloot was 11-of-13 shooting from the field, including a pair of 3-point baskets. She knocked down a short jumper to give Gonzaga the 71-63 lead just past the midway point of the second half. That was the last basket made by the Bulldogs, however, as their scoring was relegated exclusively to foul shots.
As GU went cold, Marquette started to click. Two free throws by Marissa Thrower followed by a layup by Lauren Thomas-Johnson sliced the Zags lead to four. After two free throws by Vandersloot put Gonzaga back up by six it became the Golden Eagles game. Marquette strung together a 12-0 run to swing a six-point advantage its way with only 28 seconds left in the contest.
The Bulldogs battled till the final buzzer though. Sophomore Janelle Bekkering sank home two free throws and then freshman Kayla Standish made two free throws of her own, after Georgia Jones missed both her opportunities for Marquette, to slice MU's advantage to just two with 10 clicks remaining.
Vandersloot fouled Krystal Ellis who made her first free throw but missed the second to put Marquette's lead at three. Standish rebounded Ellis' miss and dished to Vandersloot who drove the floor and put up a last second three-pointer that unfortunately was off the mark.
The Bulldogs shot 41.2 percent (28-68) from the floor in the contest and hit 16-of-19 (84.2 percent) from the charity stripe. Junior Vivian Frieson was the only other Zag to score in double-figures, putting up 12. Junior Heather Bowman, who came into the game averaging nearly 20 points per game, was held to just eight.
The Golden Eagles went to the free throw line a season-high 35 times and shot 18-of-24 (75.0 percent) from the charity stripe in the second half. They got a career-high 21 points from Paige Fiedorowicz, who led five MU players scoring in double figures and was 8-of-10 shooting from the floor.
Gonzaga will look to rebound tomorrow as it faces the University of Utah at 5 p.m. Utah lost to the University of Virginia 65-57 in its WBCA opening matchup.
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