SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Saint Mary’s women’s basketball team found its shooting stroke Thursday, posting its best performance in four games from all three aspects (field goals, 3-pointers, free throws) in a 79-71 non-conference road win over Cal Poly at the Mott Athletics Center.
The Gaels (3-4) shot 49.0 percent from the floor, 43.8 percent from beyond the 3-point arc and 81.5 percent from the free-throw line. All three marks were their best since a 77-53 win at Northeastern on Nov. 18. Saint Mary’s was on the mark from deep, making a season-high seven 3-pointers with treys from four different players. Carly Turner was a perfect 3 for 3 from downtown with 11 points and five rebounds.
Stella Beck posted her seventh double-figure scoring game in as many tries, leading SMC with 17. Devyn Galland had 13 points with a perfect 6 for 6 showing at the charity stripe. Devon Brookshire added 13 points off the bench with two 3-pointers and three rebounds.
Cal Poly (3-4) had four players in double figures, including game leader Dynn Leaupepe who had 24 points. Hannah Gilbert scored 14, Emily Anderson added 12 off the bench and Lynn Leaupepe scored 11, but the Mustangs had their struggles from the field Thursday.
The SMC defense did its part, holding Cal Poly to just 37.0 percent shooting, including 20.8 percent (5 for 24) from 3-point distance. Cal Poly had its opportunities with 21 points off Gaels turnovers and 11 second-chance points. But the Gaels outrebounded their opponent for the sixth time this season with a 44-31 advantage Thursday, including a 15-rebound difference on the defensive end (35-20). Saint Mary’s has yet to be outrebounded this season, only tying Utah, 41-41, on Saturday.
Cal Poly led by as many as six in the first quarter thanks to a quick 6-0 run to start the game. All six points were scored by the Leaupepe sisters. Then Saint Mary’s woke up and outscored the Mustangs 22-6 for the final 7 minutes, 51 seconds, of the quarter to lead 22-12 at the break.
A late charge by the Mustangs saw what was a 17-point, 70-53 fourth quarter lead come down to a 73-68 lead thanks to a 15-3 run. Saint Mary’s held off the Mustangs with free throws down the stretch. The Gaels were 7 for 8 from the free-throw line in the final 60 seconds to stay ahead despite CP making a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left.
Saint Mary’s continues its three-game road trip on Saturday when it visits South Bay foe San Jose State (2-5). The game will be streamed live on the Gaels’ “GaelVision” Gameday Central page. Saint Mary’s is now 3-1 on the road this season with all of its wins coming away from home.
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