They both won. That is what counts initially—a 1-0 start to the season, the best way to begin. However, the Lady Zags accomplished their 101-88 win against Hofstra in a very different fashion than the men’s 77-69 victory over Eastern Washington University Friday at Gonzaga.
New Faces, Same Result
For the women, the key to their success is depth and plenty of talent. Obviously they can score, seeing as they broke the 100 point barrier in their first game of the year. The number of players that saw considerable time on the court also is proof of their depth.
Eight players saw double digit minutes in the contest; seven had over 20 minutes of court time, a sign of a strong rotation designed by Coach Kelly Graves. Four of the eight ladies are first year players for the Zags: Haiden Palmer, Taelor Karr, Sunny Greinacher, and Keani Albanez—two freshmen and two transfers.
Four ladies also notched double digit points; with Katelan Redmon accomplishing a double-double. Redmon had 15 points and 13 boards. Kayla Standish scored a team high of 22 points, with Kelly Bowen adding 17, and Palmer chipping in 14.
The talent on this roster is wide-spread and will definitely be put to the test as they face the perennial power of the west—Stanford—at The Farm on Sunday at 2pm.
A Narrow Escape
On the men’s side of things, Easter Washington came to play, and well, Gonzaga didn’t. The Zags snuck out the win at home against EWU, but that was only because the Eagles played their hearts out it caught up to them in the final minutes.
Eastern used up four time outs in the first half, and was out of team time outs before the first media timeout of the second half. That was a major factor in their loss Friday night. The other critical component to not pulling of the huge upset was five guys fouling out of the game.
If it weren’t for the timeout and foul situation, there is no doubt in my mind that the Eagles would have come away from the MAC with one of the biggest upsets in either schools’ history. Eastern played with a tremendous amount of heart, and had the mindset of winning the game, despite the majority of the spectators, and definitely all of Gonzaga presuming the matchup would be a blowout in favor of the Zags.
While the Eagles were busy trying to win the game, the Bulldogs were doing everything they possibly could to not lose it—although at times it seemed as if they were attempting to hand their regional competition the upset of the year in the first game of the season.
Gonzaga was 19 for 51 from the free throw line. That is terrible. That stat alone shows how horribly they played tonight. Free throw equals free points! If nothing else changed besides making all those freebies the Zags would have won by 40 points. However, they missed, causing a less than peaceful emotional roller coaster for everyone packed in the Kennel.
A surprising starting five took the court for the Bulldogs, and maybe that is what caused the inconsistency and poor play for Gonzaga. As predicted Rob Sacre, Elias Harris, Marquise Carter, and David Stockton were starters, but the fifth man—Mike Hart—was an absolute surprise to most of GU’s supporters (and probably Eastern’s team and fan base too).
What may have been even more of a shock than Hart getting the start was that he did not come of the court the entire second half! After only nine minutes in the first half, the walk-on, redshirt junior didn’t leave the floor in the final 20 minutes of the game.
Another interesting second half adjustment by GU was that while Stockton started at the point, Kevin Pangos finished the second half with 16 minutes, compared to David’s five. The freshman filled the role in crunch time, so it is only a question as to if he will continue to be the go to guy to run the offense, or of Stockton will remain the starter—especially with zero points and two assists in 19 minutes.
Rob Sacre tallied a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Elias Harris was the dominate player on the court showing tremendous power on offense and defense with 16 points and two blocks. Carter added 17 points for the Bulldogs, while Pangos kicked in 11—shooting a perfect six of six from the free throw line.
Just like the ladies, the men will be tested with a PAC-12 school, as they host Washington State Monday night at 9pm. That game will be featured on ESPN as part of the Midnight Madness Marathon.