Cold-Shooting Gonzaga Out of NCAA Tournament - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Cold-Shooting Gonzaga Out of NCAA Tournament

Updated:
Gonzaga could not overcome a poor day from the field in an NCAA tournament game against Iowa State. Gonzaga could not overcome a poor day from the field in an NCAA tournament game against Iowa State.

Gonzaga played an inspired game on Saturday.

The Bulldogs played pressure defense, they forced turnovers and they hit the offensive glass with a vengeance.

They just were not able to shake off a cold-shooting day, though, and bowed out of the NCAA women's tournament with a 72-60 loss to Iowa State at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Wash. It is the first time the Bulldogs have not won an NCAA tournament game since 2007.

It wasn't for lack of good looks at the basket, either. Gonzaga missed open 3-pointers, short jumpers, transition layups and putbacks. The ball just refused to go through the cylinder.

"It was a little bit of everything," senior Taelor Karr said. "We might have got in our own heads, not making as many shots as we normally would.

"In the end, I think it was not hitting shots. I don't know if it was not being as confident as normal or just because it's a big stage. It's just one of those days it didn't go in."

The Bulldogs finished 23 of 71 (32.4 percent) from the floor and despite 15 offensive rebounds, had just 12 second-chance points.

Gonzaga played from behind for most of the game, and never led in the second half, but had one last run in it down the home stretch. With a packed house of mainly Bulldog fans on its feet, Gonzaga went on a 6-0 run to close the gap to 62-57. An inability to knock down open looks continued to plague the Bulldogs, though, and Iowa State sealed the win at the free throw line, hitting its last 10 attempts of the game.

Chelsea Poppens scored 19 points for Iowa State, while Hallie Christofferson and Brynn Williamson added 18 and 17, respectively.

Karr paced the Bulldogs with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Haiden Palmer added 14 points and 10 steals.

Palmer spearheaded an aggressive half-court trap that Gonzaga employed for most of the game, as the Bulldogs tried to disrupt the flow of the Cyclones offense.

"You know, it's one of those trade-offs but we felt going in and game preparation, we were not going to be able to sit back in a softer zone or man‑to‑man and give those inside kids good looks," head coach Kelly Graves said. "And for the most part, hey, Iowa State doesn't get turned over 23 times very often.  And we made a lot of those count.  We just didn't make enough."

"Their half-court pressure defense, not by surprise, but they really stuck with it," Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said. " We kind of kept thinking they would change defenses more. It was hard for us.  We had a hard time getting by that first wave."

Iowa State led 34-31 at halftime after a Williamson 3-pointer put the Cyclones ahead with 23 seconds left. Gonzaga never led or tied the game after Williamson's shot.

Iowa State shot 52.3 percent from the field and hit 17 of 18 free throws, but its bench was outscored 25-0, as the Cyclones used a six-person rotation. But Iowa State got just enough from its starters to end Gonzaga's season.

"You know, we played hard and in the end, we just didn't make enough plays," Graves said. "I thought we had opportunities, but 33 games, we've given up 70 or more points one time, and it was tonight.  Our defense was tested and unfortunately we didn't pass the test. "

  • College SportsCollegeMore>>

  • Inside Eastern Washington Football Sneak Preview

    Inside Eastern Washington Football Sneak Preview

    Before the game SWX will start the festivities with a live pregame show at 11:00 a.m. PT with special ESPN guest Colin Cowherd, all leading up to a behind-the-scenes feature on EWU football at noon. Enjoy the trailer for the Inside Eastern Washington Football special in the video player above!>>
    Before the game SWX will start the festivities with a live pregame show at 11:00 a.m. PT with special ESPN guest Colin Cowherd, all leading up to a behind-the-scenes feature on EWU football at noon. Enjoy the trailer for the Inside Eastern Washington Football special in the video player above!>>
  • EWU Volleyball Preview

    EWU Volleyball Preview

    A wealth of talent at every position combined with a trio of determined senior leaders have the Eastern Washington volleyball program ready to make its 2014 campaign a memorable one.>>
    A wealth of talent at every position combined with a trio of determined senior leaders have the Eastern Washington volleyball program ready to make its 2014 campaign a memorable one.>>
  • Spokesman's Jim Allen On EWU Football

    Spokesman's Jim Allen On EWU Football

    Spokesman-Review Eastern Washington University beat writer Jim Allen joined SWX's John Collett in the Fasteners Sports Studio to talk about Eagle football with the program's earliest and most prominent start quickly approaching.>>
    Spokesman-Review Eastern Washington University beat writer Jim Allen joined SWX's John Collett in the Fasteners Sports Studio to talk about Eagle football with the program's earliest and most prominent start quickly approaching.
    >>