LOS ANGELES – LMU guard/forward Cheyanne Wallace posted 21 second-half points, but Gonzaga earned the victory against the Lions on Thursday night at the Pavilion. The Lions moved to 16-10 (8-7 WCC) after the loss while was Gonzaga improved to 21-5 (14-1 WCC) following the 75-69 win. LMU cut the Bulldogs’ lead to just three points toward the end of the fourth after trailing by as many as 14 points earlier on in the frame, but they couldn’t get past the Zags in the end.
The score was tied at 13-13 after the first quarter. The Lions forced five Gonzaga turnovers in the opening period as WCC steals leader Gabby Green snagged three steals in the first 10 minutes of play.
The Bulldogs pulled ahead early in the second quarter, leading by as many as eight points at the 6:56 mark in the frame, but LMU stayed close behind and rallied to cut Gonzaga’s deficit to just four at the half, with the score standing at 27-23. The Lions continued to apply pressure and force GU turnovers, as the Bulldogs racked up eight turnovers through the first two quarters.
Raychel Stanley led the Lions in scoring in the first half with seven points and three boards, while Jill Barta of the Bulldogs led all scorers through the second quarter with 10 points in addition to three boards.
The Lions came out fighting in the second half, regaining their lead (32-33) after Green netted two free throws at the 7:21 mark of the third. The Zags bounced back quickly, moving into a double-digit lead five minutes later after Chandler Smith nailed back-to-back threes to put Gonzaga up 10, 49-39, with 2:05 remaining in quarter three. The Bulldogs maintained the 10-point lead heading into the final frame, ahead of LMU 55-45.
The Lions rallied from 14 points down at the 7:45 mark of the fourth to cut Gonzaga’s lead to just three points with 4:07 to go after Makenzie Cast poured in back-to-back three-pointers, but the Bulldogs maintained their lead as time expired.
Wallace finished with a game-high 25 points on the night, while Smith tallied a team-high 17 points for Gonzaga.
Raychel Stanley was the only other Lion in double figures, but Cast added nine points while Bree Alford added eight points and nine rebounds, Cierra Belvin recorded eight points and Green finished with eight boards, seven assists and a game-high four steals.
LMU dished out 19 assists to Gonzaga’s 12.
LMU hosts another home contest against the San Francisco Dons on Saturday at 2 p.m. This matchup will serve as this year’s “Play 4 Kay” game in support of breast cancer awareness.
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