EUGENE, Ore. - The Saint Mary's women's basketball team earned its first win of the year in Eugene, defeating Oregon 78-69 on Sunday afternoon. The Gaels once again won the battle on the boards and used solid free-throw shooting to close out the win. Saint Mary's never trailed in the victory.
"We are very proud of our team," said head coach Paul Thomas. "We got out of the gate strong and did a wonderful job of keeping the lead. Each game is a new experience... we learned from our loss on Friday and did something positive."
Saint Mary's is now 1-1 on the year, while Oregon drops its season opener.
Danielle Mauldin poured in a career-high 20 points, along with a career-high tying 16 rebounds. Ashlee Smith came off the bench to score 14 points in 23 minutes.
Jackie Nared added 12 points, seven rebounds and a career-high seven assists. Morgan Hatten and Kate Gaze scored 10 points apiece. Carli Rosenthal scored all nine of her points in the first-half. Hatten also added 13 rebounds.
Oregon was led by Danielle Love with 13 points as the Ducks stayed in the game with the three-pointer, connecting on 13 in the game.
Saint Mary's outrebounded Oregon 56-42 and the Gaels made 19-of-23 free-throws, while the Ducks went 4-for-6 from the line. Oregon kept the game close by connecting on 13-of-45 from behind the arc, while the Gaels hit 5-of-17 three-pointers.
Saint Mary's opened up its largest lead of the first half just before halftime, leading 41-30 after Rosenthal scored in the paint. Oregon scored before half to make the score 41-32 SMC at the break.
In the second-half, the Gaels opened up their largest lead of the game at 59-47 with 12:23 remaining. The Ducks pulled within three points on a couple of occasions, the last time at 65-62 with 6:26 remaining. Saint Mary's then went on a key 10-2 run to take a 75-64 lead after a Gaze basket with 3:19 remaining.
Oregon could do no better than match baskets down the stretch as the Gaels iced the game with free-throws.
Saint Mary's is back in action on Thursday night when it takes on California in Berkeley at 7:00 p.m.