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After cruising through conference play, Gonzaga women maintain focus going into WCC Tournament

Mar. 9—They know what they did in the regular season.

More specifically, they know what they did to West Coast Conference opponents.

In the hard-to-believe department, though, Gonzaga women's basketball coach Lisa Fortier said she didn't know what her team's WCC record was until the regular-season finale with Portland.

Gonzaga cruised through WCC play at 16-0, the first undefeated conference season under Fortier.

The 15th-ranked Zags won by an average of 30.7 points per game, a WCC record.

They scored as many as 104 points and as few as 71. They averaged 82.9 points per game and four times scored 90 or more points.

They've won 23 consecutive games, their last loss coming Nov. 26 to Louisville 81-70 in Katy, Texas.

In the Zags' game following the loss to Louisville, they held off Eastern Washington 82-80 in Cheney.

Their closest game in the winning streak was Dec. 7, a 78-70 overtime decision at California. They were coming off a huge 96-78 win over then-No. 3-ranked Stanford.

Gonzaga won't see a Louisville, Stanford, Cal or even EWU at the WCC Tournament.

It's amazing the Zags' ability to maintain focus when they've essentially had most WCC teams beaten by halftime.

"You don't really have to do that much with a team that's as veteran as we are," Fortier said when asked about focus and motivation. "... Pick a leader on our team. We've got so many of them. They're not going to overlook things. They're driven beyond what we're doing right now. They have a purpose and hopefully we will fulfill it. We're still moving toward it."

Fortier then used the word 'stack' to describe the approach her team has taken in practices and games.

"We've been talking lately about stacking days together," she said. "That's something that we heard from Mark Daigneault, the Oklahoma City (Thunder) coach. You just want to keep stacking days. That's our goal. Stacking days, stacking games, stacking championships. That's a positive process that we're talking about right now."

Graduate forward Brynna Maxwell said the Zags aren't looking beyond Monday when they open play in the WCC Tournament at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

"We're not trying to get too far ahead, because we just want to do the best we can right now and control what we can control," Maxwell said.

One thing the Zags have controlled is their effort against WCC teams. And it's been nothing short of dominating.

How much of it is because the Zags may be the best team in school history or the WCC, without BYU this season, was measurably weaker is difficult to measure.

"We're just trying to stay present in these moments, because this is a really special group," Maxwell said. "What we're accomplishing is really impressive."

GU senior Yvonne Ejim also talked about building on everything the Zags find themselves encountering.

"How we show up every single day for every single practice, game, drill, moment ... we've adapted this word on our team (that things) stack on each other. That in and of itself is preparing us for all the other games that are to come. Every single day is working toward something."

What the Zags stacked together during WCC regular-season play was nothing short of spectacular — even if the conference was down after BYU left for the Big 12.

Gonzaga's dominance should continue in Las Vegas.

"The biggest thing isn't the zero at the end of it (WCC record)," Fortier said. "It's just that our team was ready to go in every game. In every conference, it doesn't matter how good or how bad your conference is, it's tough not to have a mental lapse."

Fortier said most teams usually go through some sort of February blues, but the Zags didn't. They shouldn't have any difficulties when they take the court in Las Vegas, either.