Barta Scores 37, Gonzaga Tops Saint Mary’s for WCC Crown
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jill Barta scored 22 of her career-high 37 points in a dominating first half, and Gonzaga earned its first NCAA Tournament bid in three years by holding off Saint Mary's 86-75 on Tuesday in the West Coast Conference final.
Kiara Kudron added 14 points and nine rebounds and Laura Stockton, daughter of Hall of Famer John Stockton, had eight assists as the Bulldogs (26-6) withstood a shaky third quarter to earn their sixth WCC Tournament title in nine years.
Devyn Galland scored 16 points before fouling out late for the Gaels (20-12), who lost two close games to Gonzaga in the regular season after leading in the fourth quarter both times.
They never led this time, as the Zags hit 13 of 17 shots in racing to a 32-15 lead after the first quarter. The lead swelled to 25 before halftime, but the Gaels started the second half on a 17-2 run to get within 55-49.
Barta responded with a 3-pointer and a perfect behind-the-head pass to Emma Wolfram for a layup on the next two possessions to push the lead back to double digits.