Bulldogs Cruise Over Eastern Washington 78-58 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Bulldogs Cruise Over Eastern Washington 78-58

Haiden Palmer blasted the Eagles out of the Kennel with 25 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Haiden Palmer blasted the Eagles out of the Kennel with 25 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.
Gonzaga Perspective

by Gonzaga Athletics

Gonzaga University women’s basketball senior Haiden Palmer scored a season-high 25 points and junior Lindsay Sherbert added a season-high 17 points to lead the No. 24/25 Bulldogs to a 78-58 victory over local rival Eastern Washington University Wednesday evening in front of 5,375 fans at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

“I love playing them because I know they are going to be ready, I know they are going to compete,” explained Gonzaga head coach Kelly Graves of the Eagles, who were picked to win the Big Sky Conference this season. “They are well coached – Coach Schuller does an awesome job and that’s a quality opponent that is going to win a lot of games this year.”

It’s the fourth-straight opponent Gonzaga has played that was picked to win their league title. Through the opening four games, the Bulldogs are 3-1.

Palmer registered double-figure points for the fourth-consecutive game and the first 20-plus point performance of the year. She drained a 10-of-15 from the field, including 2-of-4 from beyond the 3-point arc, and sank 3-of-6 at the charity stripe for her game-high 25 points.

“Haiden has had a nice season so far — not just tonight — she’s really been playing well,” stated Graves of Palmer who is now averaging 20.0 points per game. “There were times tonight we needed them [points].”

Palmer scored 13 of her 25 points in the second half, including nine in the final 13 minutes.

Her most important two points may have been the jumper she hit at the 12:48 mark of the final stanza to stop an Eagles 9-0 run - that had sliced a Bulldog double-figure lead to nine points – and push GU’s advantage back to double-digits. Her jumper began a 17-7 spurt that allowed Gonzaga’s lead to balloon to 19 points with 7:49 remaining.

“It was kind of a game of runs,” stated Graves. “There were times where we would build a lead and they would kind of cut into it, and then we would build it back up.”

Sophomore Kiara Kudron was also crucial in the Bulldogs second half run. The forward came off the bench to score eight of the 17 points in the run. She ended the game scoring a career-high 12 points – 10 in the second half – in 18 minutes of play.

“Kiara is great around the rim and she is so athletic and long, she can be a really good rebounder for us at times,” explained Graves. “It was nice to see her make some good offensive moves. That’s not typical of her, but she’s just a sophomore and she’s getting a lot better.”

Kudron also dished out a career-tying high four assists and had three boards.

Sherbert was key in helping the Bulldogs go into halftime with the 37-24 advantage. The guard/forward scored 13 of her 17 points, hitting 5-of-9 shots, while also grabbing two rebounds, dishing out an assist and making a steal.

The Eagles (0-3) were led by Laura Hughes and Lexi Nelson with 18 and 17 points, respectively. Jade Redmon, younger sister of Zag senior Jazmine Redmon, finished with three points, three rebounds and three assists.

Gonzaga now has 10 days between games. The Zags are back in action Saturday, Nov. 30 when they host Colgate University at 6 p.m.

Eastern Washington Perspective

by Eastern Washington Athletics Media Relations

Up against a ranked opponent for the first time this season, the Eastern Washington women's basketball team held their own against No. 24/25 Gonzaga, falling, 78-58, Wednesday, Nov. 20, at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

The Eagles hung with the taller Bulldogs on the glass, outrebounding GU 19-14 in the second half. Eastern recorded 13 second-chance points to Gonzaga's 12, finishing with 13 offensive rebounds. The Bulldog's starting 6-footers, Sunny Greinacher and Shelby Cheslek, were limited to a total of six rebounds.

"Rebounding was our focus week," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "You could see our team making a concerted effort to not only box out but go and get the ball."

Senior Laura Hughes continued her hot start to the season, finishing two points of her career high with 18, adding a team-high six rebounds, three of which came on the offensive end.

Junior Lexie Nelson went for 17 points, draining three triples and finishing a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line.

Freshman Bethany Montgomery added eight points off the bench to go along with a team-high four assists and three rebounds. Senior Aubrey Ashenfelter led Eastern with four steals, adding six points, and five rebounds.

Hughes got Eastern (0-3) on the board first before giving EWU a 4-2 lead on a layup at the 17:41 mark. Gonzaga (3-1) answered with a 7-0 run over the next two-plus minutes to go up 9-4 before a jumper from Ashenfelter stopped the run with 14:53 on the clock. Down seven, 13-6, Nelson buried a triple to bring the Eagles to within four at the 12:06 mark, but the hosts reeled off five straight points, forcing Schuller to call timeout with 9:46 remaining.

Out of the break, Eastern went on a 6-0 run, punctuated by a jumper from Montgomery at the 8:12 mark, pulling to within three, 18-15. After another Gonzaga run that put the hosts ahead by 13, freshman Tisha Phillips converted a layup before draining a three-pointer, bringing the Eagles to within eight, 30-22, with a little over two minutes left. The Bulldogs ended the half on a 7-2 run to take a 13-point lead into the break.

Gonzaga extended its leads to 17, 41-24, to open the second half, causing EWU to take an early timeout. Eastern went to its full-court press out of the timeout, drawing to within nine, 46-37, after Ashenfelter came up with a turnover and passed to a streaking Montgomery for a layup with a little over 13 minutes left. After a GU bucket, Ashenfelter made a jumper of the Eagles' next possession, keeping EWU within striking distance.

The Bulldogs ramped it up from there, using a 15-5 run over the next four minutes to take a 19-point lead, 63-44. Eastern would get no closer than 16 points the rest of the way as Gonzaga held on for the win.

"I'm proud of how hard we played tonight," Schuller said. "That's one of the signatures of this program, that we have kids that play hard for 40 minutes. I saw some good things tonight, as well as some things we need to continue to work on."

Haiden Palmer led all scorers with 25 points, shooting 10-of-15 from the field. Lindsay Sherbert added 17 points while Kiara Kudron chipped in 12.

EWU shot 35 percent from the field compared to GU's 51.6 percent clip. The Eagles made 75 percent of their shots from the charity stripe while the Bulldogs converted at a 64.3 percent clip.

Up next for the Eagles is a trip to Las Vegas, Nev., where they will play a pair of games as part of the South Point Shootout. Eastern opens with a tilt versus No. 22/16 Iowa State on Friday, Nov. 29, at 7:30 p.m. EWU concludes its stay with a contest against Butler on Saturday at 5 p.m.

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