Palmer Sparks Zags Past Monmouth - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Palmer Sparks Zags Past Monmouth

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by Gonzaga Univ. athletics

SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Gonzaga University women's basketball team rolled to a 77-51 victory over Monmouth University Sunday evening in front of a near capacity crowd at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs, who improved to 4-0 with the victory and had 5,561 in attendance to witness the 26-point victory, had 12 of their 14 players score, led by junior Haiden Palmer with 14 points.

Palmer scored six of the Zags first eight points of the contest and had 12 of her 14 in the opening 20 minutes to help Gonzaga to a 40-23 halftime advantage.

Palmer, sophomore Sunny Greinacher and senior Taelor Karr were the ones to help break open the game in the first half as they combined for all nine points in a crucial 9-0 run that turned a three point edge into a 10 point lead at 17-7 with 13:53 left in the first. Karr put the stamp on the run as she drained a 3-pointer on a pass from Palmer which forced Monmouth to call a timeout.

Gonzaga's lead ballooned to 31-15 with 6:52 remaining. Freshman Chelsea Waters and Elle Tinkle both got into the action during this stretch with Waters scoring four points and Tinkle sinking two free throws and assisting on a Greinacher jumper.

Greinacher and classmate Keani Albanez chipped in eight points each in the opening half and the Zags shot an impressive 55.6 percent (15-of-27) from the field to claim the 17 point lead at intermission.

A 6-2 run right out of the second half gate pushed the Bulldogs lead over 20-points. It was junior Jazmine Redmon that gave GU the 21-point cushion at 46-25 when she picked Betsy Gadziala and scored a fast break layup.

Gonzaga held its lead above 20 for the remainder of the contest and grabbed its largest lead of 28 points at the 2:06 mark on a 3-pointer by senior Meghan Winters.

Sophomore point guard Maiki Viela scored seven points in the second half for Gonzaga – a new career high, while junior Stephanie Golden chipped in nine on 4-of-5 shooting in the final 20 minutes.

Thirteen players would go on to see action in the final 20 minutes for Gonzaga with only three playing 10 or more minutes.

"After we got a good enough lead during the second half, after the starting group played four or five minutes we wanted to shut them down, mainly because of our upcoming tournament," explained head coach Kelly Graves of spreading the minutes. "We have three games in three days. We travel most of the day Monday and then have games Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  After just playing a very physical game here Friday night, that's a lot of basketball to ask."

Of the 14 players to see the court for GU, only two played more than 20 minutes and all but two played over 10.

For the game, Gonzaga shot 51.7 percent (31-of-60) from the field, held the 36-34 rebounding advantage and tallied 25 points off of Monmouth's 21 turnovers.

The Hawks (0-3) were led by Alysha Womack with 21 points.

Gonzaga now travels to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for the Hardwood Tournament of Hope Tournament. The Bulldogs open the tournament against Missouri State University Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. PT. 

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