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Preview: No. 16 Gonzaga hopes to keep winning streak alive against San Francisco

The Gonzaga Bulldogs have quietly crept up the rankings and sit comfortably at the top of the WCC standings. They are expected to blow by San Francisco and its weak defense, although the Dons do have the offensive firepower to make this game an interesting one.

NCAA Womens Basketball: West Coast Conference Tournament-Gonzaga vs San Francisco
Jenn Wirth and the Bulldogs will try to soar past San Francisco.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

When the No. 16 Gonzaga Bulldogs meet the San Francisco Dons tonight in the Bay Area, it will be a matchup between two teams going in completely opposite directions.

The Bulldogs are on a 15-game winning streak, while the Dons haven’t won since WCC play began, putting them at 0-6 in the conference.

The Bulldogs (17-1, 6-0 WCC) have a two-game lead over the BYU Cougars (9-7, 4-2 WCC), while the Dons (7-11 overall) trail the second-to-last teams (Loyola Marymount Lions and Santa Clara Broncos) by two games. Aside from Gonzaga and San Francisco, the rest of the WCC is either 2-4, 3-3, 4-3 or 4-2. So, the Bulldogs and Dons are distinctly the WCC’s best and worst teams, respectively — for now.

The Bulldogs were receiving Top 25 votes in the preseason, but with their only loss coming against the No. 3 Stanford Cardinal in overtime, they have been able to move into the top 20. Gonzaga is led by junior forward Jenn Wirth, who averages 11.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Senior guard Katie Campbell also averages double-figure scoring with 11.1 points per game and is leading the team in 3-point shooting, hitting a scorching 45.7 percent of her long-range shots.

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San Francisco may be able to compete with Gonzaga’s shooting prowess. The Dons’ strength is their offense, which averages 69.2 points per game — not too far behind Gonzaga’s 70.2. However, the Dons’ leading scorer, freshman guard Ioanna Krimili, has been dealing with a foot injury and hasn’t played since Dec. 4. According to Steve Kroner of the San Francisco Chronicle, her status remains “uncertain.”

After Krimili, junior guard Lucie Hoskova (15.3 points per game, 39.4 percent from three) and graduate student forward Mikayla Williams (14.4 points per game) do most of the scoring for the Dons, while sophomore forward Leilah Vigil is averaging a double-double with 10.2 points and 10.1 rebounds per contest.

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San Francisco’s rebounding margin (4.8) is only two behind Gonzaga’s, but the Bulldogs have the two tallest rotation players in Wirth and her twin sister LeeAnne, both of whom stand at 6-foot-3.

The Dons’ true weakness is their defense. They allow 74 points per game, while Gonzaga only allows 53.2. The Bulldogs will try to take advantage of that weakness with their conference-leading field goal percentage (45.7) and 3-point shooting percentage (38.8). Meanwhile, the Dons may try to be aggressive and get to the free throw line, where they shoot a decent 71.4 percent. They make 13.2 free throws per game, which is good for second in the conference behind the Pacific Tigers.

Game information

No. 16 Gonzaga vs. San Francisco

When: Saturday, Jan. 18 at 8 p.m. ET

Where: Sobrato Center in San Francisco, CA

How to watch/listen: WCC Network/Radio: 790 KJRB (Spokane, WA)