Gonzaga beats Portland

The first half of the West Coast Conference basketball season is over and Gonzaga's women sit atop the standings with a perfect 7-0. The men stand in second-place with a 5-2 mark, one game behind St. Mary's who visits in a few days.

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Led by super sixth "man" Anne Bailey, Gonzaga started fast in Portland's Chiles Center, fended off some Pilots rallies, but built enough of a cushion to escape the Rose City with their 7th straight conference win and nation-leading 14th overall consecutive win.

Bailey poured in 19 points on 6-8 shooting but wasn't the only Bulldog putting up solid numbers. Senior forward Ashley Burke added 18 points and senior point Shannon Mathews had an ideal "point guard game" with 15 points and 7 assists. Rounding out yet another balanced scoring attack was Raeanna Jewell who tacked on a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

But despite all this, Portland would battle back and make a tough game of it, pulling within two points in the 2nd-half before the Zags would sprint out to another big lead. Towards the end of the game Portland would score 19 of the final 25 points but it was too little too late.

The Spokane women had built a 25 point lead and coasted to the 11 point victory. Once again, defense played a decisive role as Gonzaga held the Pilots to just 33% from the field.

As Coach Kelly Graves team was flying back to Spokane, the Gonzaga men tipped off against the Portland Pilots and quickly raced to a 14 point lead on the backs of Derek Raivio's three 3-pointers, Ronny Turiaf's inside play, J.P. Batista's ever-improving interior game (with a 3-pointer) and Adam Morrison's scoring.

But Mark Few would watch Pooh Jeter and Donald Wilson bury bomb after bomb to bring the Pilots back to within 6 points at the half. Freshman Jeremiah Dominguez swished a trey at the halftime buzzer to give his Pilots momentum.

And that shot of momentum carried into the 2nd-half as Portland quickly caught Gonzaga and kept it a seesaw affair for 16 minutes. Then, finally, Gonzaga busted it open behind Batista's career-high 25 points and 12 rebounds, Morrison's 18 points, Raivio's 15 points, Turiaf's near double-double and Sean Mallon's pair of And-1's and 10 total points.

Despite Jeter's 22 points and a good gameplan by Portland coach Holton, the Zags pulled away to win by 12. 91-79. The game was the first to be televised nationally in the new McCarthey Athletic Center. It was on ESPN2.

While the men host a huge game for a share of 1st-place on Thursday against St. Mary's, and a showdown with Santa Clara on Saturday, the women travel to the Bay Area to take on the same two teams on the same days.

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