ESTERO, Fla. – Sophomore forward Melody Kempton scored a career-high 18 points, LeeAnne Wirth and Jessie Loera each added 12, and No. 22 Gonzaga beat Purdue 63-50 on Sunday night to win the Gulf Coast Showcase women’s basketball tournament.
Kempton made 7 of 12 shots from the field and 4 of 5 from the free-throw line.
Purdue used a 9-2 spurt to close the third quarter and open the fourth to trim its deficit to five points, but Kempton and Loera made back-to-back layups before Jill Townsend scored four straight points to spark an 11-1 run that gave the Zags (6-1) a 15-point lead when Loera made another layup with 41 seconds remaining.
Purdue (6-1) had a streak of 11 straight missed shots as Gonzaga pulled away.
Dominique Oden had nine points and eight rebounds to lead the Boilermakers.
The Zags won three games in three days at the Gulf Coast Showcase, previously defeating Dayton and Middle Tennessee. They have won four in a row — all by double figures — since a 76-70 overtime loss at No. 3 Stanford on Nov. 17.
“It’s really exciting; I’m really happy for these guys,” Gonzaga coach Lisa Fortier said of the tournament title. “I thought they played really well the last two days and certainly today. (They) overcame really good shooters, really big players, the best shot-blocker in the country, really fast athletes and a bunch of different stuff.
“We had foul trouble intermittently; we had different players step up. We had a different high scorer every game. I’m really happy with their efforts. They played so hard and made big plays.”
Gonzaga managed to beat Purdue despite making 1 of 12 three-point shots and getting outrebounded 35-28.
The Zags took much better care of the ball, making a season-low eight turnovers that led to seven points for the Boilermakers. Meanwhile, Gonzaga scored 26 points off Purdue’s 21 turnovers.
Gonzaga had nine steals — three by Loera, who is from Moses Lake — and limited the Boilermakers to a season-low 34.7% shooting from the field.
“We were really playing together,” Fortier said. “We weren’t letting them have any easy driving lanes initially, and so they started out really having to work for all their points. They didn’t get any lobs on us because we had help side. The areas where they maybe had more of an advantage against us, we were able to limit dramatically.”
• Michaela Onyenwere collected 27 points and 11 rebounds to lead the No. 11 UCLA women to a 73-62 victory over host Virginia in a Cavalier Classic game.
• Dylan Smith scored 20 points and fellow senior Chase Jeter added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Arizona men in a 73-66 victory over Wake Forest in the championship game of the Wooden Legacy tournament in Anaheim, Calif. The Wildcats are 8-0 for the first time in five seasons.
• Freshman forward Onyeka Okongwu had 27 points and 14 rebounds as USC defeated Harvard 77-62 for third place in the Orlando Invitational in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Okongwu made 12 of 14 shots for USC (7-2).
• Tres Tinkle scored 26 points to lead host Oregon State to an 81-76 victory over Portland State. The Beavers, who improved to 7-1, have won all 14 games between the schools.
• Freshman Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored a career-high 18 points in his second start as host UCLA routed San Jose State 93-64.
• Oscar da Silva scored a career-high 26 points to lead host Stanford past North Carolina-Wilmington 72-54. The Cardinal is 8-1.