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The Gaels and Bulldogs will meet in an early season battle for first-place.
The Gaels and Bulldogs will meet in an early season battle for first-place.
WBK | Saint Mary's Hosts Gonzaga Thursday Night
Release: Saturday 01/07/2013 
by SMC Athletics
MORAGA, Calif. - The Saint Mary's women's basketball team (10-4, 2-0 West Coast Conference) hosts WCC rival Gonzaga (12-4, 2-0 WCC) on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. in McKeon Pavilion. While Gonzaga has won the last eight WCC titles, it was Saint Mary's who ended the Bulldogs' 34-game conference unbeaten streak one year ago.

Both SMC and GU enter the contest having swept its WCC match-ups last week. Saint Mary's went on the road and won at San Francisco 68-48 and won in overtime at Loyola Marymount 84-77. Gonzaga won two home games against San Diego and Santa Clara by a combined 49 points.

After playing 10 of its first 14 games of the year on the road, Saint Mary's will not leave the bay area until December 31. SMC hosts Gonzaga (1/10), San Diego (1/17) and Pepperdine (1/19), followed by a road game at Santa Clara (1/24).

Saint Mary's has been led by the duo of Jackie Nared and Danielle Mauldin, the duo has combined for 16 double-doubles, as Nared leads the WCC in scoring with 18.9 ppg and Mauldin averages a league-high 11.0 rpg.

The Gaels have also gotten contributions from many other teammates, including Kate Gaze who is averaging 10.9 ppg and Morgan Hatten who is coming off her second double-double of the year and tied a career-high with 15 points.

Saint Mary's is also one of the top rebounding teams in the nation (rebounding margin), averaging 45.5 rpg compared to opponents with a 35.4 rpg average.

Gonzaga is led by its backcourt duo of Haiden Palmer (12.8 ppg) and Taelor Karr (9.1 ppg, 48 percent from three-point range). Gonzaga is also 3-0 on the road this season, winning at UC Riverside, USC and Portland State.

Thursday's game is a Gael Force Full Force event as well as a t-shirt drive game.