Kingston, Rhode Island was the last stop on the five month journey the Gonzaga women’s basketball team completed this season. Beginning the year with a home game November 11thagainst Hofstra, the Zags were determined to pick up where they left off the 2010-2011 season, and they did. It was a great season that included a conference title and a trip the Sweet Sixteen—incredible accomplishments for an incredible group.
Unfortunately, after winning the first two games of the NCAA tournament, the third round was not so kind to the Bulldogs as Kentucky knocked off GU 79-62. It was quite a game to begin with, as it remained close for much of the first half. The Wildcats were going wild from the three, as they ended the game with 12 treys. Nearly half of their scoring came from outside, and they could hardly miss (they ended 12-21); and when your opponent is draining threes, it’s hard to stay in the game.
It’s even harder when you can’t answer with threes. Although the Lady Zags had the height and interior presence advantage, they were only 1-6 from beyond the arc, and quickly caught on that they were not going to be able to trade threes with UK. While the paint was where the Bulldogs could do the damage, the tenacity and feisty defense the Wildcats played on the perimeter was extremely productive, and preventative of allowing GU to pound the ball inside.
In many ways, the fact that the 11th seeded Bulldogs even made it to the Sweet Sixteen was incredible. Kentucky, the two seed, definitely had their work cut out for them, as GU had already upset Rutgers (6) and Miami (3) to make it to Rhode Island. Yet going into the Elite Eight as a tournament, only the one and two seeds remain—indicating the selection committee was right on par with their rankings. For the Lady Zags to have won the first regional game would not have only been an upset, but it would have defied all other statistics, this just wasn’t the year for Cinderella to make a deep run.
It is only appropriate that the three starting seniors of the Bulldogs ended their careers with the double digit scoring. Kayla Standish provided the main offense for GU with 25 points. Kelly Bowen added 11 points and Katelan Redmon finished with ten. All three women had incredible careers at GU, and will leave some big shoes to fill next year.
Kentucky will face top seeded UCONN for a bid to the Final Four Tuesday, while Gonzaga ends the year with a 28-6 mark.