Zags' Women, Men Dancin' in NCAA Tournament Again

Corey Kispert and Jill Townsend taking it to the hoop. (GU photos)

March 16, 2021
Gonzaga News Service

SPOKANE, Wash. — It’s March and that means Madness as the Gonzaga men’s and women’s basketball teams compete in the NCAA Tournament, again, on Saturday and Monday, respectively, with the men earning the No. 1 overall seed for the first time in program history.

This marks the 22nd consecutive NCAA Tournament berth (23rd overall) for the men — one of the four No. 1 seeds for the fourth time in program history — and the 12th overall for the women who secured a No. 5 seed, tied for the highest in program history.

Men

Atop the West bracket, the undefeated (26-0) men will face the winner of Thursday’s First Four game between Appalachian State and Norfolk State game at 6:20 p.m. PDT on Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, the city where the entire men’s tournament will be held this year due to the pandemic.

The game will be on TBS. If the Zags win, they will take on the winner of Saturday’s No. 8 Oklahoma vs. No. 9 Missouri game on Monday.

Led by Coach Mark Few, the Zags are first in the nation in scoring offense (92.1), field goal percentage (55.1), two-point percentage (63.9), scoring margin (23.0) and points in the paint (51.2).

The Zags’ 22 consecutive NCAA Tournament bids mark the third-longest current streak in the nation (Kansas 31 and Michigan State 23). The Zags are 34-22 all-time in 21 previous NCAA Tournament appearances with 10 trips to the Sweet 16, four trips to the Elite Eight, one Final Four and one national championship game.

Gonzaga is 31-20 in the NCAA Tournament under Coach Few with a berth in all 21 seasons in his career as a head coach. GU is the last unbeaten team in the nation, and one of 29 teams in Division I history to end the regular season unbeaten. The Zags’ 30 straight wins (a program record) is the longest active streak in nation, along with its 21 straight conference wins.

Women

In the Tournament’s Mercado region, the No. 5-seed (23-3) Zags and will face No. 12-seed Belmont (20-5) at 1 p.m. PDT on Monday, March 22, in San Marcos, Texas. The game will be on ESPN2. If the Zags win, they will take on the winner of Monday’s No. 4 Indiana vs. No. 13 VCU game on Wednesday.

Led by sixth-year Coach Lisa Fortier, Gonzaga returns to the NCAA Tournament for its fourth-straight season (excluding the 2020 NCAA Tournament that was cancelled due to the pandemic).

Gonzaga defeated Brigham Young 43-42 on a last-second shot by Jill Townsend to capture the Zags’ ninth West Coast Conference tournament title.

In 11 previous NCAA Tournament appearances, Gonzaga has advanced to the Elite Eight once (2011), and the Sweet 16 four times: 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015. GU is 11-11 in the NCAA Tournament. In its last NCAA tournament (2019), Gonzaga advanced to the second round before falling to No. 4 seed Oregon State 76-70.

Hope, Excitement Abound on Gonzaga Day

The Gonzaga community worldwide united on March 11 to “Celebrate Hope,” the theme for the virtual festivities for the University's 9th annual Gonzaga Day. Thousands of Zags shared photos and videos, engaged on GU social media channels and 513 people entered to win Zag Swag packages.

Other Highlights:

  • Nearly 20 alumni and friends’ chapters created social media campaigns and shared stories celebrating hope
  • 474 downloads of the Zag Nation Mobile App during the week (adding to a total of over 2,000 users)
  • The Seattle alumni chapter hosted a socially distanced service project benefiting St. Vincent de Paul in Seattle
  • 47 alumni and friends supported 43 students in their career search and networking in the Bay Area Trek with virtual “visits” to Facebook, Google, Salesforce, InkHouse, Square, Stryker, DocuSign and Trinity Alps Capital Partners

 

Follow the Zags

Gonzaga alumni, parents, fans and friends can find everything related to the Zags in the NCAA Tournament at: gonzaga.edu/gonzaga-basketball.

With in-person events not being possible due to the pandemic, alumni relations is planning several opportunities to celebrate our women’s and men’s teams in new ways including:

  • Virtual pre-game rally events
  • “Zag Swag” give-a-way times both on campus and virtually on game days, discounted apparel promotions in partnership with the Zag Shop and more
  • Watch your email this week for updates and event details 
  • Download the Zag Nation Alumni and Friends mobile App to receive immediate tournament updates
  • Download an app for game-time live chat events
  • Print Go Zags signs and men’s and women’s player trading cards to join the fun