GCU was voted third in the conference by both the media and coaches before the season began. Perhaps feeling they have a chip on their shoulders, GCU has won every game to start the 2022-23 season. And the Lopes have done so in convincing fashion.
Evan Zars had 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead GCU to a wire-to-wire 74-60 win over North Dakota on Friday evening at GCU Arena.
With the win, GCU moves to 4-0, making them the last undefeated WAC women’s basketball team standing.
In their first game of the GCU Thanksgiving Classic, the Lopes took on North Dakota. After a hard-fought four quarters by both squads, GCU defeated the Fighting Hawks in a fun one. This win was the first time in five meetings that GCU has ever beaten North Dakota, showing the growth of a team looking to win it all.
Starting with a Lopes 3 from the freshman sniper Ellie Buzzelle, both teams went back and forth in the first quarter. Neither team could get any advantage no matter what they did on either side of the floor, hinting at a close game throughout. By the end of the first, the score was 16-14 in favor of the Lopes. GCU took control after the first quarter en route to the double-digit win. .
The Lopes held UND to just eight points in the second quarter while they scored double that in the same period. This stretched GCU’s lead to 10 with a score of 32-22 going into the second half.
Second Half Shootout
The third quarter was an absolute clinic offensively for both teams. 49 total points were scored in a highly entertaining period. UND’s shot 43 percent from the field and 66 percent from 3-point land. GCU managed to keep their lead, shooting on even more impressive splits. The Lopes shot an astounding 65 percent from the field and over 71 percent from behind the arc.
The offensive efficiency allowed GCU to pull away, finishing the period leading 59-44.
The Fighting Hawks outscored the Lopes in the fourth quarter, 16-14, but it wasn’t enough. GCU held on to their big lead and won 73-60.
The Evan Zars Show Continues
Everyone in Phoenix was excited when it was announced that forward Evan Zars was coming to town. However, not many expected the grad transfer to be quite so dominant. Zars led all scorers in the Lopes’ win over UND, scoring a 22-point, 12-rebound double-double.
So far this season, Zars leads the Lopes in scoring with 13.3 points per game. Considering the other scoring threats on the roster, it is safe to say no one expected Zars to come out on top. Her impressive post moves and ability to get open below the hoop have been a point guard’s dream. The other Lopes consistently find her in a position to score, and she almost always delivers. She’s also stellar defensively, getting steals and blocks when the team needs them most.
She’s certainly a candidate for WAC Newcomer of the Year so far. And if she keeps dominating at this pace, she’ll run away with not only that but maybe even a First-Team All-WAC nod as well.