Gonzaga Men's, Women's BB Teams Head Back To 'Big Dance'
The Gonzaga men’s and women’s basketball teams are both headed back to the NCAA’s “Big Dance.” Both came back from double-digit deficits to beat teams from Brigham Young University.The men’s team finished an undefeated regular season. It rallied from 12 points down at halftime to win, 88-78, in the West Coast Conference final in Las Vegas. The Bulldogs finish their regular season 26-0 and have won 30 games in a row, dating back to last year’s truncated season. Gonzaga will learn on Sunday which team it will play in the NCAA men’s tournament in Indianapolis.
The men’s win came a few hours after a thrilling 43-42 win by the Gonzaga women. Jill Townsend made a jump shot at the buzzer to cap a comeback from a 13-point second-half deficit. The GU women are now 23-3 and will await word about which team they’ll play in the first round of the NCAA women’s tournament in San Antonio.
In the men's game, BYU used red hot shooting, about 70%, to take a 53-41 lead at the half. Gonzaga responded by scoring 11 of the first 13 points of the second half, included three 3-pointers by Corey Kispert, to narrow the gap to three. BYU rebuilt the lead to nine, 68-59, with about nine minutes left. But the Bulldogs scored the next 12 points to lead 71-68. With the score 76-73, Zags freshman Jalen Suggs hit two three points to run Gonzaga's lead to nine, on their way to the 10-point win.
In the women's game, BYU led 22-13 at the half and 36-27 after three quarters. But the Zags' Yvonne Ejim scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to pull her team within three. Gonzaga was down 42-39 when Jenn Wirth hit two free throws with :32, setting up a wild finale. After two timeouts, BYU's Paisley Johnson missed a layup. Wirth rebounded to give the Zags one final possession. Kayleigh Truong missed a layup with two seconds left, but the Zags snagged the rebound and called timeout with :0.6 seconds left. After the timeout, Gonzaga inbounded the ball to Jill Townsend, who immediately drained a shot from the left wing. She celebrated by running the other way down the court, her teammates chasing her.