ZAGS WIN: The guard play of Vandersloot and DeGraffenreid was classic. Vandersloot was forced into six turnovers, but her team had her back when they did get the ball. Vandersloot finished with 15 assists and five steals with her nine points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field. DeGraffenreid was 2-for-14, but had six assists and four steals. Rebounding was huge and despite being undersized, Frieson had 10 boards against the 6-foot-5 Chay Shegog. Frieson also had 16 points, three assists and three blocks. It was one of those games where everyone had impressive stats, but Gonzaga’s 48 percent shooting from the field was the edge. They advance to face the Aggies, a team that handed them a four-point loss in December. GU calls it their turning point, not losing again. It will take the same hot shooting and fearless play inside despite being undersized to get another win.
TOO SHY-SHY: Hush, hush, cause Shives is hitting three-pointers and Frieson is adding jumpers to help Gonzaga build a 78-73 lead with 1:58 on the clock. Both teams are still making sloppy mistakes, but the Zags are building momentum.
CALL TIME: UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell called a quick time after Shives hit back-to-back three-pointers to put the Zags back up. The Bulldogs are getting the rebounds and finally looking like they want this game. GU leads 66-62 with 6:10 remaining.
TOUGH TASK: UNC is strutting the power of the ACC. They may have been the last to get a berth and the No. 10 seed is the lowest in school history, but they’re looking good against a skilled Bulldogs team. Tar Heels lead 59-58 with 8:50 to go.
WHO’S GAME?: Score is tied at 56 points apiece with 11:44 remaining. UNC is using its athleticism to block shots while the Zags are using positioning to deflect passes for steals. So, not much is going in the bucket. The Zags appear more flustered, however. UNC is aggressive and in their way at every turn, which Gonzaga obviously doesn’t like.
BETER DEFENSE: The Zags are playing better defense than they did to close the first half, making UNC’s shots a little tougher to hit. The Tar Heels are shooting 3-for-10 in the second-half. Bowman, the WCC’s all-time leading scorer, also is hitting shots. But the game is still close. GU leads 54-50 with 15:48 remaining in the second half.
We’re late and I’d like to take this time to campaign for Texas A&M;coach Gary Blair and say the interviewing format is why. Because the winning coach spoke last, I had to stay in the media workroom for him to take the podium.
Had he been first, I would be able to tell you more about the thrilling first half No. 7 seed Gonzaga had with No. 10 seed North Carolina. But instead, all I can tell you is that there was a lot of cheering and the Zags lead 48-44 going into halftime.
Blair wants the format changed and I’m a vote for it, too.
Anyway, here were your starting lineups:
TAR HEELSF Laura Broomfield
F Tierra Ruffin-Pratt
C Chay Shegog
G Italee Lucas
G Cetera DeGraffenreid
BULLDOGSF Vivian Frieson
F Janelle Bekkering
C Heather Bowman
G Courtney Vandersloot
G Tiffanie Shives
Tonight’s officials are Michael Prince, Maj Forsberg, and Peter Contreras.