WIU beat No. 18 Stanford on Monday night
Dec. 19, 2017
Western Illinois Notes
Gonzaga (6-4) vs. Western Illinois (10-2)
Dec. 21, 2017 | 6 p.m. PT | theW.tv | 94.1 KJRB FM (Steve Myklebust)
Spokane, Wash. | McCarthey Athletic Center (6,000) | Live Stats
SPEEDING PAST RED FLASH:
- The Gonzaga Bulldogs rewrote the record books in a 97-74 win over Saint Francis last Sunday.
- Zykera Rice scored a career-high 23 points and was named the WCC Player of the Week, the first in her career.
- Freshman Jenn Wirth, in her second career start, had a career-high 13 points and 11 rebounds for her first career double-double.
- Sophomore Jessie Loera scored a career-high 13 points to go with five rebounds and four assists.
- The Zags shot 60.6 percent from the field, the highest field goal percentage for the program inside the McCarthey Athletic Center, besting the previous mark of 59.7 percent set against Whitman in 2010.
- It was the first time GU scored 95 points since they dropped 102 against UC Irvine last fall, and the first time they scored 50 points in a half since they scored 53 against Saint Mary’s in the WCC Championship last March.
- GU made 35 or more field goals, they made 40, for the first time since they made 36 against San Francisco in 2014.
- Zykera Rice, who was 10-for-12 for 83 percent from the field, shot above 80 percent for the first time since Jill Barta shot 82 percent against Pacific last year.
THE SUMMIT LEAGUE HISTORY:
- The Zags have never faced Western Illinois in their program’s history.
- GU has not faced anyone from The Summit League since 2009, when they fell narrowly at South Dakota State, 71-75. The Zags are 1-4 all-time against The Summit League. They are 1-2 against Denver and 0-2 against South Dakota State, with all games coming from 2002-2009.
- The Bulldogs are 2-0 against North Dakota, current members of the Big Sky Conference, set to join The Summit League in 2018.
- GU’s win against Denver came on New Year’s Eve, 2004, 63-39. Gonzaga ran out to a 15-2 lead to open the game while Denver was held without a field goal for the first 10:33 of the game.
- The record may not show it, but all of those games could have gone either way. The Zags averaged 58.6 points per game in those five contests, while allowing 62.8 points per game.
SCOUTING WESTERN ILLINOIS:
- The Leathernecks just had what they dubbed their “biggest win in program history”, as they knocked off No. 18 Stanford 71-64 Monday night on the road.
- The win is WIU’s first-ever over an AP-Top 25 ranked opponent and 10-2 is the second-best start in program history, as the Leathernecks started 15-2 in 2005-06. WIU is also the first team to defeat the Cardinal at home this season
- Reigning Summit League Player of the Week Taylor Higginbotham leads the league with 17.5.7 points per game and the team at 7.3 rebounds per game. Emily Clemens and Morgan Blumer also average double-figures at 16.7 and 14 points per game, respectively.
- Clemens is the all-time leader in assists at the school with 545. She also recently became the first ever Leatherneck to have over 1,000 points, 500 assists and 200 steals for a career. She was named to the Nancy Lieberman Award Preseason Watch List and was also named the Preseason Summit League Player of the Year.
- Western Illinois is 5-1 on the road this season, including a 77-67 win at Illinois.
- WIU won their sixth Summit League Championship last season, falling 66-87 to Florida State in the NCAA Tournament. It was their first NCAA berth since 1995 as they won the regular-season and tournament championships.
Zykera Rice WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
- The West Coast Conference has named Zykera Rice the Women’s Basketball Player of the Week for December 18, 2017.
- In Gonzaga’s lone game last week, junior forward Zykera Rice scored a career-high 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting to go with nine rebounds, two assists, and one block in just 24 minutes of action. She was three-of-five from the foul line to help GU beat Saint Francis 97-74.
- The Zags have won the last non-conference game leading into the conference season the last four seasons. The last loss was to Washington State, 51-57, in 2012.
- That is the only loss leading into the conference season dating back to 1999, the start of the Zags recent success.
- In those games, all but four have been played at home.
- The Zags knew they would need to utilize their heralded recruiting class this season, but early injures have placed a bigger onus on the production of that class.
- Currently, three new Zags, Jenn Wirth, Jill Townsend, and LeeAnne Wirth are averaging over 10 minutes per game and accounting for 17 percent of the points and 23 percent of the rebounds.
- As a group they are shooting 46.1 percent from the field.
- The Zags have recorded seven double-doubles this season. Jill Barta had the first four of them, getting three in her first three contests. Zykera Rice and Chandler Smith both had double-doubles against Portland State, with Smith coming two assists short of a triple double. Jenn Wirth had the first of her career against Saint Francis.
- It took the Zags 10 games to get their sixth double-double last season, as this year is the fastest pace hitting that mark in eight games and then seven in 10 games.