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Lindsay Stockton has watched her sister play from afar this season at Gonzaga, and admits she isn’t too excited to face her.

Laura, a freshman and guard like Lindsay, has lived up to her billing as last year’s top player from Washington. She was named The Seattle Times State Player of the Year after averaging 17 points per game and leading Spokane’s Gonzaga Prep to a state title. Laura averages 19 minutes and six points for the Bulldogs, who host the Bobcats at 3 p.m. today.

Lindsay knows her younger sister’s tendencies, but also recognizes she’s improving every day.

“We played pickup in the summer, but not in a real game — ever,” she said. “Every time I see her she gets a little bit more comfortable in what she does and looks a little bit more confident out there.”

The senior won’t have father John on her sideline during the game. The MSU assistant and NBA Hall of Famer is opting to sit in the stands instead of coach against his youngest daughter, Bobcats head coach Tricia Binford said.

“I asked him if he was going to have a split T-shirt. I don’t know what he’s going to do,” Binford joked. “It’s going to be a fun game.”

Binford recruited Laura, but is happy the young phenom has carved out a role for a perennial NCAA Tournament contender.

“It is a great family and she’s a great kid and we knew she was talented enough — that’s why we recruited her, too,” the coach said. “We’re really happy for her having a great start to her freshman year.”

The Bulldogs routed MSU last year at Worthington Arena, and the Bobcats hope to be competitive this time around. MSU (5-2) leads the Big Sky in field goal (46) and free throw percentage (77). It’s also tops in assists per game (19), a mark good for 16th nationally.

The offense found balance Thursday in a blowout win over Cal State Fullerton. Forwards Riley Nordgaard and Peyton Ferris combined for 32 points, the same number guards Stockton and Delany Junkermier produced.

“We’re different than who we’ve been in years past,” Lindsay Stockton said. “I think it’s so easy for us guards to rely on our posts because they’ve been so efficient. ... I think it’s evening out, the guard-post thing, and it’s making us a more complete team. We’re on our way.”

Sophomore reserve guard Hannah Caudill has provided a spark off the bench. She averages six assists, and has notched double digits in the category twice.

“Her passing has been off the charts,” Binford said. “You guys are looking at assists. What I chart is created opportunities, and her created opportunities are probably in the 15 or 16 range right now for us. She just makes teammates look good and finds openings.”

Gonzaga (5-3) is seventh in country in blocks (47) and ranked first in’s Mid-Major Top 25 for the second consecutive week. The Bulldogs have lost to Stanford, USC and North Carolina.

“We know the environment there is going to be a really challenging one,” Binford said. “There probably will be a sold-out crowd. We just came from Cal Poly where we didn’t handle the hostile environment as well as we would have liked. It’s an opportunity for us to show that we can play with top teams.”

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Michael Appelgate can be reached at or 582-2670. Follow him on Twitter @mappelgate206.