MORAGA, Calif. — The Saint Mary’s women’s basketball team extended its winning streak to four games Saturday with its second straight thrilling victory, this time scoring four points in the final 92 seconds to come from behind and beat rival Santa Clara, 55-53, in a West Coast Conference game at McKeon Pavilion.
Shannon Mauldin had the late heroics Saturday on both ends of the court. Her steal with 1 minute, 6 seconds left and a tie game gave the Gaels (12-9, 7-3 WCC) the ball and a chance to win. 20 seconds later Mauldin’s running floater in the lane gave SMC a two-point advantage with 45 seconds to play. Santa Clara (9-12, 4-6 WCC) took a shot at winning the game with five seconds left on a 3-pointer from Emily Wolph, but she hit the left iron from the right wing. Mauldin dove to the court to get the loose-ball rebound and seal the victory.
Mauldin had a team-high 13 points while adding six rebounds and two assists. Sydney Raggio posted her second double-double of the season and seventh of her career with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Carly Turner narrowly missed her fourth double-double of the year with nine points and nine boards.
The win pulled Saint Mary’s into a two-way tie for second place with BYU, who lost at Loyola Marymount, 77-74, Saturday. Saint Mary’s trails first place Gonzaga by one game. The two teams will meet in Spokane, Wash., on Feb. 11.
Santa Clara made 13 3-pointers and shot 44.8 percent from deep, but was only 4 for 23 (17.4 percent) on the rest of its shots. Wolph led all players with 18 points (4 3-pointers). Taylor Berry added 15 points on five treys. Morgan McGwire had a game-high 11 rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
The game was not as close as the final score indicated. Saint Mary’s led by as much as 13 in the first quarter, starting the game on a 16-3 run. Santa Clara shot 28.6 percent in the first half and trailed SMC 34-28 at halftime.
But the Broncos did all of their damage in the third quarter. SCU limited the Gaels to nine points in the third and shot 46.7 percent (7 for 15) with four 3-pointers. Santa Clara closed the third quarter on an 18-3 run to erase an 11-point deficit and take a 47-43 lead into the fourth.
While Santa Clara was doing its damage from downtown with 13 3-pointers, Saint Mary’s was dominating the paint for the third straight game. The Gaels outscored SCU in the paint 28-6 Saturday. It was the third consecutive game in which they beat their opponent down low by at least 20 points. The Gaels also dominated the boards again, outgrabbing Santa Clara 48-29, one board shy of their season high.
The Gaels continue their current three-game home stand at 6:30 p.m. Thursday versus Pacific. Saturday the Gaels host San Diego at 1 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase on SMCGaels.com or by calling the SMC Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx.
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