World news – Analysis: Gonzaga women overcome obstacles to stun BYU in WCC title game

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Jill Townsend had the ball in her hands and was sick less than a second behind in a championship game.

She had no time to think about past disappointments in Las Vegas or the fact that she was the whole Hadn’t scored a point that afternoon.

Townsend just let it fly. At six tenths of a second she had no choice.

The ball was still in the air when the buzzer sounded, but it found the bottom of the net to give the Gonzaga Women a 43:42 win over BYU in the title game West Coast Conference at the Orleans Arena.

@ ZagWBB WINS IN THE BUZZER !!! pic.twitter.com/j2vEQ2QZBL
– WCC basketball (@WCChoops) March 9, 2021

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Then Townsend ran down the pitch – no small feat for someone who was barely able to get up on Tuesday morning due to severe food poisoning.

There she was attacked by her teammates – once after the shot, then back in midfield, after officials confirmed the shot left her hand in time.

« It’s something I will remember for the rest of my life, » Townsend said at the post-game press conference.

Together with coach Lisa Fortier, she wore a ball cap. It was decorated with string from the net, a souvenir denied the Zags on two previous trips to Vegas.

« Vegas was not nice to us, » said Townsend, who broke her leg in the semifinals two years ago and the last Year came back short.

Some time after the win on Monday against Santa Clara, the Zags (23-3) were ravaged by gastroenteritis. At least 6 players were affected, including the starters Townsend, Cierra Walker and LeeAnne Wirth, who couldn’t even keep up.

Flashback and Highlights: Jill Townsend meets buzzer, Gonzaga # 16 women return to beat BYU for the title of WCC tournament
With one starter and two more due to illness, the top-line Gonzaga women got off a slow start, and Jill Townsend hit a summer beater to raise the Bulldogs in the championship game of the West Coast Conference Tournament on Tuesday over BYU 43-42 that afternoon Orleans Arena. | Continue reading « 

Fortier and her staff juggled the line-up and gave the newcomer Yvonne Ejim and the second guard Kaylynne Truong the first career start and only the second junior Melody Kempton.

LeeAnne Wirth was too sick to hold her own while Townsend and the launch guard, Cierra Walker, were too sick to begin.

Then it got worse. Townsend needed bags of IV fluids to even warm up.

« I was going to put a few minutes on the court, but we weren’t sure how many minutes, » Townsend said.

She kicked Entered the game in the middle of the first quarter, only to leave it 2 minutes later and, according to broadcasters, to be « at its peak ».

The Zags then produced the worst half of the offensive in Fortier’s career as head coach. They missed 12 of their first 16 shots and looked lost and separated.

But they stayed defensive and after the first quarter were only 10-8 against a strong BYU squad that probably needed a win to reach the NCAA tournament field.

« Gonzaga is tough, » said BYU coach Jeff Judkins after the game. « We knew they would do their best if they came and showed up. »

That didn’t happen right away. At halftime, the Zags had made 15 turnovers and shot 23% off the floor (5 versus 29).

GU even played the Cougars in the third quarter, making a few shots but watching BYU do the same. In the fourth round, BYU was still leading by nine, 36-27.

Ejim came up with two layins and two fouls early in the fourth quarter. With 7 minutes to go, BYU’s lead had dropped to 36-33.

Shaylee Gonzalez gave BYU some breathing space. That made it 40-33 with 3:35 left, but Redshirt rookie Eliza Hollingsworth shocked everyone by emptying a 3-pointer at the top of the arc.

Gonzales gave BYU a 42-39 advantage with 44 seconds left . Twelve seconds later Jenn Wirth twitched with a 1:10 shot with two fouls.

After two time-outs, BYU’s Paisley Harding missed a layin 8 seconds before the end and Wirth grabbed the rebound.

Kayleigh Truong missed 2 A potential game win seconds to go, but Ejim grabbed the rebound six tenths of a second ahead to determine Townsend’s game winners.

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