Vandersloot leads Gonzaga past Saint Mary's

Courtney Vandersloot showed Monday that she was worthy of the Naismith Award with 18 points, 16 assists and even a blocked shot as 20th-ranked Gonzaga beat Saint Mary's 72-46 to claim its third straight West Coast Conference tournament title.

The Bulldogs (28-4) now turn their attention to the NCAA tournament, where they advanced to the Sweet 16 a year ago.

Saint Mary's (19-12) likely is headed to the women's National Invitation Tournament.

Vandersloot early Monday was chosen winner of the Naismith Award as the top female collegian 5-foot-8 and under.

She came up big, hitting a 3-pointer that fueled a 20-5 Gonzaga run, turning a 15-8 deficit into a 28-20 halftime lead.

Vandersloot was voted Most Valuable Player in the tourney.

Danielle Mauldin led Saint Mary's with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Katelan Redmon added 17 points, six rebounds and three steals for Gonzaga.

In the first half, Saint Mary's made a concerted effort to slow the pace against the nation's top-scoring team. The Gaels applied full-court pressure defensively, and offensively often walked the ball up the court before driving toward the basket and drawing a foul.

The strategy in the first half worked as Saint Mary's drew 10 fouls and went to the line 13 times, making nine, compared to 1 of 1 for Gonzaga, which was held scoreless for 4½ minutes.

The Bulldogs broke loose in the second half, and pulled away for their third lopsided win this season against the Gaels.

Gonzaga trailed 15-8 with 9:12 left in the first half before Vandersloot's 3-pointer. Redmon tied it at 15 with a jumper then stole the ball and started a fast break capped by Jazmine Redmon's layup.

A layin by Kayla Standish put Gonzaga ahead 25-20 and Katelan Redmon's three-point play gave the Bulldogs a 28-20 halftime lead.