College women’s basketball: Former Post Falls star Kempton helps Zags win tourney title

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ESTERO, Fla. — Melody Kempton had a career-high 18 points, LeeAnne Wirth and Jessie Loera each scored 12, and No. 22 Gonzaga beat Purdue 63-50 on Sunday night to win the Gulf Coast Showcase.

Kempton, a sophomore form Post Falls High, made 7 of 12 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 Jessie Loera made back-to-back layups before Jill Townsend scored four straight points to spark an 11-1 run that gave the Bulldogs (6-1) a 15-point lead when Loera made another layup with 41 seconds remaining.

After Kayana Traylor’s layup made it 52-47 with seven minutes left in the game, the Boilermakers missed their next 11 field-goal attempts before Fatou Diagne’s layup capped the scoring with 32 seconds to go.

Dominique Oden had nine points and eight rebounds for Purdue (6-1).

The Bulldogs made just 1 of 12 from 3-point range and shot just 38% from the field but committed a season-low eight turnovers. They had nine steals, including three by Loera, and scored 26 points off 21 Purdue turnovers.

The Boilermakers, who went into the game shooting 43.9% percent from the field, shot a season-low 34.7% (17 of 49).

Gonzaga has won four games in a row — all by double figures — since a 76-70 overtime loss to No. 3 Stanford on Nov. 17.

Gonzaga plays at Montana State on Thursday.

Pepperdine 53, Eastern Washington 52: At Cheney, Malia Bambrick hit a 3-pointer as time expired, lifting the Waves (5-2) past the Eagles (0-5) at Reese Court.

Bella Cravens had 17 points and 12 rebounds for Eastern, which plays host to Northwest Christian next Sunday.

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