Nov. 22, 2009
SPOKANE, Wash. - Courtney Vandersloot recorded a double-double with 18 points and 11 assists to lead the Gonzaga women's basketball team to an 81-52 win over Washington at the McCarthey Athletic Center on a snowy Sunday afternoon.
The defending West Coast Conference champions opened the game with an 18-2 run, showcasing their vaunted fast-break offense. Vandersloot, who is coming off a season in 2008-09 that earned her WCC Player of the Year honors, led the way as she continually found teammates open for layups, scoring 36 points in transition.
While Coach Tia Jackson was disappointed her team did not follow on their last-gasp win over BYU last Wednesday, she wants her players to extract learning lessons from a game such as this.
"We're still learning how to win games; we're still learning how to deal with adversity in games," Jackson said. "We can bounce back."
But the Huskies were hampered offensively early after Sami Whitcomb picked up her second foul midway in the first half, forcing Washington to sit their leading scorer. The senior was held to just five points, 18 below her average.
After weathering the initial storm from the Bulldogs, the Huskies responded with six straight points on the back of Kingma. The sophomore converted a three-point play when the bounced the ball of an unsuspecting Vandersloot, and then laid it in and was fouled. Kingma then sank a deep 3-pointer from the corner and was fouled, but missed the corresponding free throw.
What hurt the Huskies the most was the Bulldogs advantage on the glass. Gonzaga crashed the offensive glass hard, corralling 24 offensive rebounds and 51 total. Vivian Frieson led Gonzaga (3-1) with 14 boards, while also making her presence felt on the defensive end with four blocks and a steal. In last year's meeting between these teams, a 64-59 Gonzaga win, Frieson set a school record with 10 steals.
The rivalry contest at McCarthey featured a near-capacity crowd of 4,259. Both teams featured players from the Puget Sound region, making it an intriguing early-season matchup for fans and student-athletes. On the flip side, Jeneva Anderson - who played at Lewis & Clark High School in Spokane - scored her first official points as a Husky with a baseline jumper, which set off a loud ovation from family members in attendance.
Ex-Husky Katelan Redmon also scored 18 for Gonzaga, which topped a Pacific-10 school for the second time in four days. The Bulldogs beat Southern Cal 70-58 on Nov. 19 in Spokane. Senior forward Heather Bowman added 17 for GU. But it all goes back to Vandersloot, who orchestrated the offense.
"We knew the combination game between Vandersloot and Bowman, they were going to try and make things happen," Jackson said. "You know this is a kid that if she gets hot early, she can go off."
In a schedule packed with tough non-conference contests, this might have topped the list for Washington. Gonzaga reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and nearly knocked off No. 4 seed Pittsburgh last year.
Next up for Washington will be the annual Husky Classic at Bank of America Arena. It will feature matchups over the Thanksgiving weekend against Eastern Washington and Sacramento State, starting with a 2 p.m. tipoff on Friday against the Eagles.