LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The Saint Mary's women's basketball team gave up a 12-point lead but defeated Loyola Marymount in overtime by an 84-77 score on Saturday afternoon in Gersten Pavilion.
"Our team was incredibly focused and determined to get this win," said head coach Paul Thomas. "Our defensive inconsistencies were exposed today by an aggressive LMU team... we are pleased to get on the airplane and head home with a win."
With the win, Saint Mary's improves to 10-4, 2-0 West Coast Conference, while Loyola Marymount drops to 7-8, 1-1 WCC.
The Gaels were led by three double-doubles as Jackie Nared led the way with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Danielle Mauldin had 22 points and 10 rebounds while Morgan Hatten notched her second double-double of the year with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Kate Gaze was also in double-figures with 13 points and a team-high four assists.
Saint Mary's had to overcome the LMU duo of Alex Cowling (16 points, six rebounds, four assists) and Hazel Ramirez (23 points, six assists).
Saint Mary's built a 12-point lead in the first half and led 37-25 with 3:00 remaining after a Hatten free-throw. LMU closed out the half strong and cut the lead down to 38-31 SMC at the break.
LMU started the second-half strong and pulled within 42-41 after a Ramirez jumper with 16:45 left. The Gaels held the lead until the Lions tied it up with 12:46 remaining. LMU took its first lead since early in the first-half at 49-47 with 11:55 remaining. Nared responded with a key basket on the next possession to tie up the game again.
LMU would hold the lead as late as 66-64 with 1:59 remaining. Mauldin would score in the paint on the next possession to tie up the game at 66-66 with 1:43 left.
The Gaels appeared to be in good shape as Gaze hit a free-throw and Carli Rosenthal grabbed a rebound. Nared connected on two free-throws and the Gaels led 69-66 with 24 seconds left. LMU would miss a three-pointer but grabbed the rebound and was fouled to make one of two free-throws. Down by two points with 11 seconds left, LMU's Cowling drove and scored inside, surrounded by Gaels to force overtime at 69-69.
In overtime, the Lions had the chance to take the lead, but never could as the Gaels scored the first bucket of the extra period on an inside basket by Mauldin with 3:55 left.
The final tie of the game would come at 75-75 as Hatten connected on a big three-pointer to five SMC the lead. Hatten then grabbed a big rebound on the next possession and the Gaels would soon lead by five at 80-75 with 45 seconds left.
LMU pulled within three points but could not get a final stop as Hatten scored in the paint on a nice pass from Mauldin which proved to be the game-winner as the Gaels went up 82-77 with just 16 seconds left. Nared iced the game with a pair of free-throws.
Saint Mary's is back in action for its home opener on Thursday, January 10. The Gaels face defending WCC champion Gonzaga at 6:00 p.m. in McKeon Pavilion.