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GU women look for consistency

January 4, 2017

A little consistency will go a long way in helping the Gonzaga women regroup from a pair of stinging losses.

After breaking down the film of her team’s setbacks against Pepperdine and Pacific, GU coach Lisa Fortier noticed many occasions “where we’re making the winning play,” and other instances when Zags made plays “where you simply can’t win.”

“There were too many possessions where we weren’t making winning plays,” said Fortier.

The result is an 0-2 record in West Coast Conference play going into Thursday night’s home game against San Francisco. The immediate damage – a staggering 62-point drop in GU’s RPI, to 133rd – is done, but there’s still time to get back in the conference race.

Over the remaining 16 regular-season games, Fortier said. “We have to figure out what’s going to make us play together, play hard and play defense – and also have some confidence in our offense.”

That starts with 3-point shooting, a GU staple that’s fallen on hard times lately. GU is 24-for-90 (26.4 percent) over the last four games and only 7-for-43 (15.9 percent) in WCC games.

“We need to get our (3-point) reps at the right speed,” Fortier said after the Pacific game. “We make a bunch of them when we’re going at our pace.”

Speaking of pace, USF has been forcing the pace lately. The Dons got off to a slow start under new coach Molly Goodenbour, including a 73-35 loss at Washington State (a team GU beat by 18 last month).

However, USF is 8-5 and coming off upset wins over San Diego and Santa Clara. Junior forward Michaela Rakova is the WCC player of the week after averaging 16 points and 12 ½ rebounds.

The Dons “play with a lot of energy,” Fortier said. “They’re moving the ball really well.”

GU has won 13 of the last 15 meetings against USF and 10 straight at home. The Zags had won 21 straight in the series until losing last year in San Francisco.

On Saturday, GU hosts a Portland team that was picked to finish last in the WCC. The Pilots are 3-10, but coming off a 10-point win over the same Pepperdine squad that knocked off GU last week.