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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

NCAA Tournament Preview: Women’s basketball vs. Gonzaga

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.

What: NCAA Tournament first round, No. 6-seed women’s basketball vs. No. 11-seed Gonzaga

When: Friday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, Ore., ESPN2

After receiving an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament as Atlantic 10 conference championships and winning 27 out their last 28 games, the Colonials are back in the Big Dance for the first time since 2008.

The Colonials (29-3, 15-1 A-10) will matchup against veteran team Gonzaga (24-7, 16-2 WCC) in the first round of competition. The Bulldogs received an at-large bid to obtain their seventh straight appearance in the NCAA tournament. Friday’s contest will also mark the first meeting between the two programs.

The Case for Gonzaga:

The Zags can score. Gonzaga boasts the top offense in the West Coast Conference, scoring an average of 71.4 points per game.

Guard Keani Albanez contributes 12.8 of those points per game, and is devastating from the free throw line where she holds a .867 shooting mark for the season. She’s a stat-sheet stuffer, boasting 71 assists and 73 steals on the season to go along with her scoring.
Albanez is the standout, but Gonzaga is fifth in the nation overall from the charity stripe where they make 77 percent of their shots, a program record.

That kind of poise is unlikely to dissipate under the bright lights of March given Gonzaga’s experience, but the Colonials will have to be careful. One of GW’s few problem areas has been turnovers, and the Zags are 13-0 when winning the turnover margin.

Despite the Bulldogs being the lower seed, the crowd could also work in their favor. Though the Colonials were on the top-20 list in February of teams likely to host their first NCAA Tournament games, falling to a six seed meant traveling across the country for GW while Gonzaga will remain in the Pacific Northwest.

The Case for GW:

But even though they are going far away from home, the Colonials are favored to win the game as the higher seed, and many projections had them seeded even higher before selection Monday.

GW’s +13.9 rebound-margin ranks first in the nation and will be tough to match for the Bulldogs, who average a healthy 40.2 mark off the glass but are still dwarfed by the Colonials’ 47.6.

Junior Jonquel Jones, who will be playing in her first NCAA Tournament, has been the key component in GW’s success so far and has 19 double-doubles on the season. Her 12.4 rebounds per game, sixth in the nation, should be a big part of keeping the Colonials out in front.

Gonzaga’s last three opponents shot a season-low in field goal attempts against the Zags, but with Jones’ prowess off the offensive glass, especially, GW shouldn’t have that problem.

Should the Colonials win, they would move on to the second round to play the winner of No. 3-seed Oregon State (26-4, 16-2 Pac-12) and No. 14-seed South Dakota State (24-8, 12-4 Summit) on March 22.

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